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.