NEW DELHI—The Supreme Court of India (SCI), on Monday March 10, 2014, directed the Indian Government to make a decision on Prof. Devinderpal Singh Bhullar’s new mercy petition by March 27th. The apex court warned that if the government failed to do so, it will proceed to decide on his plea to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment.
A Bench led by Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam asked Attorney General G E Vahanvati, “If you inform us on the next date [about the decision taken], it is well and good… or we will decide the case ourselves.” There have been recent cases where the government did not take the advice of its law officers seriously.
On February 26, 2014, the government had assured the court that Prof. Bhullar would not be hanged in his present health condition. It also sought two weeks to send the mercy petition, moved by Prof. Bhullar’s wife Bibi Navneet Kaur Bhullar last April of 2013 to the President for a final decision.
The curative petition filed by Navneet Kaur Bhullar, got a fresh lease on life after a constitution bench of the apex court recently ruled that mental illness was also a ground to seek commutation.
Staying Prof. Bhullar’s execution, on January 31, 2014, the court sought to know why his death sentence should not be commuted because of the delay in deciding his mercy plea, and in view of his mental illness.