Health Current Affairs

Death penalty of Devinderpal Singh Bhullar commuted to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court

On grounds of delay in deciding mercy plea and medical condition, the Supreme Court of India commuted the death penalty of 1993 Delhi bomb blast case convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar  to life imprisonment. The Chief Justice P Sathasivam bench granted life to Bhullar on the grounds of inordinate delay in deciding his mercy petition and his suffering from Schizophrenia.

Some key points from the Judgement made by the Honourable Supreme Court:-

[icon name=”icon-hand-right”]Death penalty can be commuted to life on the ground of inordinate delay on part of President to decide their mercy pleas. 

[icon name=”icon-hand-right”]Death sentence of a condemned prisoner cannot be executed if (s)he is suffering from mental illness and schizophrenia.

[icon name=”icon-hand-right”]There has to be a minimum 14-day gap between the information given to condemned prisoner about rejection of mercy plea and the actual execution date. This will give the condemned prisoner an opportunity to either challenge the rejection, eat the food he likes, meet family, relatives and friends.

[icon name=”icon-hand-right”]All condemned prisoners are entitled to free legal aid to draft mercy petitions and challenge its rejection.

[icon name=”icon-hand-right”]Every person on death row, whether convicted for multiple murder or terrorism cases, will have a right to approach SC to challenge the rejection of their mercy petitions on grounds of inordinate delay in deciding the mercy plea. 

[icon name=”icon-info-sign”]Therefore, now inordinate delay clause would be applicable to terrorism cases also.

[icon name=”icon-user”]Devinderpal Singh Bhullar

  • Born: May 26, 1965 in Punjab.
  • Profession: Professor of Engineering.
  • Convicted of killing 9 bystanders in a 1993 car bombing intended to kill politician Maninderjeet Singh Bitta.
  • His petition for mercy was rejected by the President of India after eight years (an unnecessary delay).
  • In January, 2014, the apex court had stopped Bhullar’s execution and had sought a medical report on his mental health.
  •  Bhullar’s family had pleaded that the 49-year-old is mentally unfit and thus should not be hanged.

[icon name=”icon-plus-sign”]Schizophrenia- A mental disorder where common symptoms include delusions, such as paranoia, hearing voices or noises that are not there, disorganized thinking, lack of emotion, etc.

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WHO declared South-East Asia region polio-free

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared South-East Asia region as polio-free region. The certification is being hailed as a historic milestone in the global fight to eradicate the deadly virus. It came after, when WHO certified India officially polio-free after the country went three years with no new cases of the illness.

  • India embarked on the programme to eradicate polio 19 years ago in 1995, when the disease used to cripple more than 50,000 children in the country every year. Since January 2011, India has been polio free nation.
  • Southeast Asia is the fourth of six WHO regions to officially eradicate the disease, which means 80 % of the world’s population now lives in a polio-free area.
  • Other WHO Regions that are certified as polio-free: the Region of the Americas (1994), the Western Pacific Region(2000) and the European Region (2002).
  • Though, the disease is still endemic in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.
  • Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan have been free of the virus for more than 15 years.
  • Member states in the WHO’s Southeast Asia Region: Bangladesh, Bhutan, South Korea, India,Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste.
  • The polio-free tag does not mean the end of polio vaccination. Now, nations will have to work towards introducing the injectable polio vaccine and the eventual phasing out of oral polio vaccines.These countries will introduce a dose of IPV by the end of 2015 as part of their commitment to the global polio endgame plan which aims to ensure a polio-free world by 2018.

Note: Polio- a viral disease that mainly affects children under five years old. The virus is transmitted through contaminated food and water, and multiplies in the intestine. It can then invade the nervous system, causing paralysis in one in every 200 infections.

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