Indian Govt. Agrees Upon Commutation of Bhullar’s Death Sentence

Prof. BhullarNEW DELHI, India— The Central Government of India has finally agreed upon the commutation of Prof. Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar’s death sentence to life term on grounds of inordinate delay in deciding his mercy petition. On Thursday, the government supported his plea seeking commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment, and told the Supreme Court that they should allow his plea.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati appeared before the bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam and submitted that this case has to be allowed by the court, and no argument is required in this matter. After the senior most law officer’s submission, the bench reserved its order for next week.

In January, the apex court had stayed the execution of Prof. Bhullar on his wife’s curative petition, filed in September of 2013, for her husband on the grounds of his mental condition, as well as an inordinate delay in deciding his mercy petition by the government.

Bhullar’s counsel had told the court that the April 12, 2012 judgment declining to commute Bhullar’s death sentence to life imprisonment, on the grounds that he was convicted under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), has become “per incuriem” in the light of three judges’ verdict.

The three-judge bench had in a similar batch of matters ruled that delay in deciding the mercy petition by the president, and mental illness of the death row convict was grounds for commutation of death sentence to life imprisonment.

In the case of Bhullar, it was contended that not only was there a delay in deciding his mercy petition, but he was also mentally ill, and undergoing treatment in a mental hospital.


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