New Delhi:  In a significant development to 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape case, the Supreme Court on Saturday agreed to hear the curative petitions, filed by two convicts — Mukesh and Vinay Kumar. As per the reports, a five-judge bench  comprising Justices NV Ramana, Arun Mishra, RF Nariman, R Banumati, and Ashok Bhushan will take up the petitions on January 14  in chambers.

Amicus curiae Vrinda Grover had filed the petitions on behalf of the convicts. A curative petition is the last legal remedy available to a death row convict.

In his curative plea, Vinay said his young age has been erroneously rejected as a mitigating circumstance. “The petitioner’s socio-economic circumstances, number of family dependants including ailing parents, good conduct in jail and probability of reformation have not been adequately considered leading to gross miscarriage of justice,” the plea said.

It said the court’s judgment has relied on factors such as “collective conscience of society” and “public opinion” in deciding the sentence to be imposed on him and others. “The impugned judgment is bad in law as subsequent judgments of apex court have definitely changed the law on death sentence in India allowing several convicts similarly placed as him to have their death sentence commuted to life imprisonment,” the plea said.

It further said that after pronouncement of the apex court’s judgment in 2017 there have been as many as 17 cases involving rape and murder in which various three-judge benches of the top court have commuted the death sentence.

The curative pleas come after the Patiala House court on Tuesday fixed January 22 and 7 AM as the date and time for execution of the the four convicted persons– Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31).

On the intervening night of December 16 and December 17, 2012, Nirbhaya, a 23-year-old paramedic student, was brutally gang-raped and assaulted inside a moving bus near nationa capital’s Munirka area by six persons before being dumped on the road. Two weeks later on December 29, she succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital.

Within 48 hours of the crime, the Delhi police arrested all the six accused and charged them with sexual assault and murder. While the prime accused in the case, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide inside Tihar Jail, one of the convicts, a minor, who was just short of 18 when the crime took place appeared before the juvenile justice court and released after three years in a reform home.