Devinderpal Singh Bhullar will not be hanged: Centre

Devinderpal Singh Bhullar will not be hanged: Centre

The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that death row convict and member of banned Khalistan Liberation Front Devinderpal Singh Bhullar will not be executed in view of his medical condition as well as pendency of a fresh mercy petition.

The assurance by Attorney General G E Vahanvati prompted the apex court to adjourn hearing on a curative petition filed by Navneet Kaur, Bhullar’s wife for two weeks in order to help the government to take a decision on the clemency.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on March 10. The four-judge bench presided by Chief Justice P Sathasivam, however, asked the country’s top law officer to expedite finalisation of decision.

Vahanvati also informed the court about the “noting” made by Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor in the fresh mercy petition filed by Kaur in April last, a day after rejection of her plea for commutation of Bhullar’s death sentence on the ground of delay in decision of mercy petition.

The Lieutenant Governor  had said: “The question before me is whether in terms of moral principles such a person can be condemned to death. In many ways it would appear as if a child without a mind and in poor health is condemned to death for an incident that he committed when his mind and body were in a completely different state. On principles of human ethics, and natural justice I cannot bring myself to recommend the rejection of the mercy petition of Navneet Kaur”. The apex court had on January 31 ordered to stay execution of Bhullar while seeking a report on his mental illness from Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences where he has been admitted.

During the hearing on Wednesday, senior advocate K T S Tulsi, however, wanted a direction to the Centre to take a decision on the pending mercy petition of Kaur within two weeks. “The state of uncertainty has been responsible for the state of affairs,” he said.

Vahanvati, on his part sought time, saying, “There is a lot of compassion shown in the matter. The stay on execution is already in operation.” The court allowed his plea and posted the matter for hearing on March 10.

Bhullar saw a ray of hope in the apex court verdict of January 21 wherein 15 death row convicts were spared of noose for inordinate delay in disposal of their mercy petitions. His plea for commutation of capital punishment to life term on similar ground was rejected on the ground of grave terror charges.

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