NEW DELHI—Former Judge of Supreme Court of India Justice Markanday Katju met the President of India Pranab Mukherjee on September 3 seeking release of political Sikh prisoner Prof. Davender Pal Singh Bhullar. It is notable here that Prof. Bhullar is currently languishing in the Central Jail of Amritsar and he has been granted parole for two times since his transfer to Punjab in June 2015.
Giving details about his meeting with Pranab Mukherjee, Justice Katju said, “I had gone to meet him to seek pardon for Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, whom I believe to be innocent.”
Justice Markanday Katju had played a vital role in commutation of Prof. Bhullar’s death sentence to life sentence. Justice Katju had explained in a public appearance at Chandigarh that Prof. Davender Pal Singh Bhullar was addressed death sentence by a panel of three judges of Supreme Court on the basis of confession signed by him. The death sentence was addressed with ratio 2:1 of judges. Justice Katju had said that anyone under the torture of Indian police could sign anything to get rid of the pain of torture.
Notably, Prof. Davender Pal Singh Bhullar was framed under Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) in a case of killing nine bystanders in a 1993 car bombing intended to kill Maninderjeet Bitta (Youth Congress leader), and was sentenced to death. The Supreme Court of India had commuted his death sentence to life Imprisonment on 31 March 2014, both on the ground of an unexplained and inordinate delay of eight years in deciding his mercy petition and on the ground of suffering from Schizophrenia.
Under pressure of Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa’s struggle, his transfer to Central Jail of Amritsar was okayed by the Punjab government last year and he was transferred to Punjab in June 2015.
There has to be at least one sensible president in last twenty years or so to see the folly of the Indian justice system as explained by Justice Katju and release Prof Bhullar.