New Delhi: The Union Home Ministry has sent a recommendation rejecting the mercy petition filed by one of the convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya rape and murder case to President Ram Nath Kovind.
The move comes on a day the victim’s family made an emotional appeal for justice following the controversial encounter of four accused in a similar rape case in Hyderabad. It also coincides with a call given by the President to do away with mercy petition in cases involving sexual assault on minors.
The mercy plea was filed by Vinay Sharma, one of the convicts facing the gallows for the rape and murder of the 23-year-old paramedic student who was named ‘Nirbhaya’ (fearless) by the media since laws bar revealing the identity of the victim.
The file rejecting the mercy plea was sent by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to the Home Ministry and has been forwarded to the President for consideration and final decision. The Home Ministry has also commented in the file recommending the rejection of the mercy petition, an official said.
In a letter written to Kovind, the 23-year-old paramedic student's mother on Friday urged him to reject the mercy petition and said it "deliberately tries to avoid the execution of the death sentence and hamper the dissemination of justice".
"Almost seven years have elapsed since then. The trauma, pain and agony suffered by the applicant (mother) is unbearable and the wait for justice is getting longer and longer," the letter sent through her lawyer further said.
Nirbhaya was gang-raped on December 16, 2012 and succumbed to her injuries a few days later. The brutality of the rape had rocked the nation leading to massive protests and stricter laws for crimes against women.
On Friday, Nirbhaya’s family hailed the early morning encounter of four men accused of raping and murdering a veterinarian in Telangana and urged authorities not to punish the policemen responsible for the action.
"Today the court, the government and the Delhi Police should see what example the Hyderabad police has set. It is my request to the judiciary and the Centre that Nirbhaya's accused should be hanged at the earliest and set an example before the society... the way they commit heinous crime, they will meet the same fate," Nirbhaya's mother said.
Justifying the encounter, Nirbhaya's father said had the police not acted promptly and shot the accused, they would have fled. "It is good that the police showed prompt response and acted. Otherwise the accused would have fled and it would have been difficult to catch them. The escape would also have raised questions on the efficiency of the police," he said.
Her father said the family has been awaiting justice for seven years now.
"The family of the Hyderabad doctor will not have to wait for seven years for justice like us. We can understand the pain of her parents. At least, they got justice early," he said.