2012 gangrape case: Now, convict Vinay Sharma approaches Election Commission for relief

Anand Mohan J
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Earlier this week, the Supreme Court dismissed Vinay's plea challenging the rejection of his mercy petition by the President of India.

Hours after approaching a Delhi court for better treatment of his alleged mental ailments, Vinay Sharma, one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case lodged in Tihar Jail, has now sought relief from the Election Commission by questioning the timing of the rejection of his mercy plea during the recently concluded Delhi Assembly elections.

Earlier today, Sharma's lawyer AP Singh moved an application before Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana praying that his client is shifted to IBHAS hospital, Shahdara for better treatment for his alleged schizophrenia and other ailments. The court has listed the matter for February 22 and directed the Tihar Jail Superintendant to file his reply in the matter.

Singh told the court that Vinay has failed to now recognize his own mother and has fractured his arm. "Yesterday at the time of legal meeting with counsel and convict, and the family and convict, it was a very serious matter that the convict Vinay Sharma could not identify to his counsel his mother," Singh submitted.

The Additional public prosecutor, Irfan Ahmad told the court that the application was not maintainable and that the jail rules had already provided for giving medical assistance to the inmates.

Explained: Can death sentence be postponed on medical grounds?

The plea claimed that when Sharma's counsel visited him in the prison on the request of his family members, he found that he had sustained grievous head injury, fracture in his right arm with plaster and was suffering from "insanity", "mental illness" and "schizophrenia". The prosecution opposed the plea saying it was not maintainable.

In his plea, Singh stated that Vinay had sustained "grievous head injury, fracture in his right arm with plaster, insanity, suffering from mental illness and Schizophrenia." Singh submitted to the court that Vinay was "suffering from decreased sleep, anxiety" and was referred to a psychiatrist in 2018. As per his plea, from 2016 to 201i there were three attempts at suicide and self-harm.

Singh has submitted that as per the medical records Vinay was "diagnosed with adjustment disorder...and a dose of antipsychotic medication." "The convict's symptoms of anxiety and self-harm indicate considerable distress. The convict has expressed a feeling of low self-esteem, uselessness, guilt, and burdensomeness. These, along with multiple instances of self-harm and suicide indicate the convict has suffered from severe depressive episodes during the period of his incarceration," his plea read.

The four convicts — Pawan Gupta (25), Mukesh Singh (32), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) — are scheduled to be hanged on March 3 at 6 am. The date was deferred twice earlier due to the convicts’ remaining legal remedies. Currently, Pawan is yet to file curative and mercy petitions. Akshay, too, has expressed an intent to file a fresh mercy petition.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court dismissed Vinay's plea challenging the rejection of his mercy petition by the President of India.

AP Singh, who appeared for convicts Akshay and Vinay, told the court, “Vinay is suffering from acute mental illness and, therefore, the death sentence cannot be carried out.” The court, however, did not find any merit in Vinay’s claim of mental illness, after it perused a medical report prepared by senior medical officer, Akesh Narade, on January 30, which certified that Vinay was “psychologically well adjusted”.

A 23-year-old physiotherapy intern was gang-raped and savagely assaulted on the night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. She died of her injuries a fortnight later in a Singapore hospital.

Six people including the four convicts, Ram Singh and a juvenile — were named as accused. Ram Singh, the prime accused, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself in Tihar jail days after the trial began.  The juvenile was released in 2015 and sent to an undisclosed location amid concerns over a threat to his life. He, when released, was 20 years old.