While all the convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case — (Pawan Kumar Gupta (26), Vinay Kumar Sharma (27), Mukesh (32) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) — have been restless since the Patiala House court issued their death warrant afresh, Mukesh has moved the Supreme Court, making serious allegations against his old lawyer. In his petition filed with the help of his new lawyer ML Sharma, Mukesh has sought permission to file a curative petition.
Mukesh’s brother Suresh through advocate ML Sharma filed the petition. The Supreme Court will hear it on Monday. But it stands little chance of saving him, as the Supreme Court had previously dismissed a curative petition from him, and a convict is entitled to just one curative petition.
On Friday, ML Sharma made the union and Delhi governments and the amicus curiae defendants in the case. He also argued that Mukesh was a victim of a conspiracy.
This follows the burlesque behaviour of advocate AP Singh outside the court after the Patiala House court issued the death warrant for the fourth time, where he called the court a “bully”.
Mukesh, making serious allegations against his former lawyer Vrinda Grover, said that he had not been told that he had up to three years to file a corrective petition. So, he argued, he should be given time to explore legal options he still has.
Mukesh also wants to file a fresh mercy petition before the President along with this corrective petition. According to Mukesh, the lower court had appointed Grover as his advocate, wherein he was forced to sign the vakalatnama (consent to let a lawyer represent a plaintiff) and then the apex court rejected the petition.
According to lawyer Sharma, Section 137 of the Limitation Act sets the time limit for filing the petition. Mukesh’s right to file a corrective petition holds for three years. The petition claims that Mukesh’s plea was dismissed three years ago and that he can file the petition by July 2021 — since the deadline ends in three years!
On Thursday, on the plea of the Delhi government, Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana of the Patiala House Court had issued a new (the fourth) death warrant and fixed the date of hanging for 20 March. According to the death warrant, the four convicts will be hanged in Jail No. 3 of Tihar at 5:30 AM that day.
This is the second time Mukesh Singh has made a strange allegation. On the previous occasion, he had alleged that the jail authorities had forced him to indulge in sexual activities with the three fellow convicts. The court dismissed the allegation.
President Ram Nath Kovind had rejected the clemency plea of Mukesh on 17 January.
On 16 December 2012, paramedical student Nirbhaya was raped in a moving bus in Vasant Vihar area of south Delhi. Six persons on board the bus (Ram Singh, a ‘minor’, Vinay Kumar Sharma, Pawan Kumar Gupta, Mukesh Kumar Singh and Akshay Singh Thakur) gang-raped her and brutalised her in a manner that she died later that month after the doctors of AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital and a speciality hospital in Singapore failed to revive her body ridden with internal injuries caused by the insertion of a rod by one the six rapists.