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The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the petition filed by one of the four Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder convicts, Mukesh Kumar Singh, challenging the rejection of his mercy petition by the President.

A three-member bench led by Justice R Banumathi said, “We find no merits in contention of the petitioner. Suffering in prison cannot be a ground for mercy petition. Power is vested in the higher authority. Detailed note and all relevant materials were placed before the President. It cannot be assumed if the mercy petition is rejected that it was approached with a pre-determined mind. Petition is dismissed.”

Akshay Singh, another convict in the Nirbhaya rape-murder case, also challenged his execution today in the Supreme Court by filing a curative petition.

A bench comprising Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna had reserved the order on Tuesday after hearing the death-row convict’s lawyer Anjana Prakash, and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

Prakash, a former Patna High Court judge, had submitted that due consideration to the mercy plea was not given by the President and it was rejected shortly after the curative petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court.

During the arguments, Justice Banumathi asked Prakash as to how she could claim that all the facts in the case were not placed before the President when he dealt with the mercy plea.

The Supreme Court had rejected curative petitions of two of the convicts – Mukesh and Vinay, saying that no case was made out. Mukesh then moved the mercy plea.

On December 16, 2012, a paramedical student was gang-raped in a moving bus and brutally assaulted by six men in Delhi’s Munirka area. The student died at a Singapore hospital two weeks later where she was airlifted for treatment.

The key accused in the case, Ram Singh, had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail during the pendency of the case, while the sixth was a minor at the time of the crime and was let out after serving a three-year remand at a reform home.

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