Supreme Court verdict could impact other death row prisoners
The court has rejected an appeal by Devinderpal Singh Bhullar against his hanging, and could impact the cases of 16 other prisoners on death row who have pleaded against their punishment.
Bhullar had appealed against his execution on the grounds that his petition for mercy was kept pending by the President of the country for eight years. He was given the death sentence for killing nine people with a car bomb in Delhi in 1993.
Bhullar’s wife was in court when the verdict against him was announced. “The court didn’t consider our points,” she said. Bhullar’s family and friends say that his time in prison has affected his mental health.
Activists and lawyers for Bhullar and other prisoners have said that inordinate delays in deciding requests for clemency amount to cruelty and violate the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
In Tamil Nadu, today’s verdict will be carefully assessed to determine the potential fallout on the case of three men who have spent 22 years in a jail in Tamil Nadu for their role in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Their appeal for clemency was rejected after 11 years in August 2011. All parties in the state have passed a resolution stating that they should not hang.
Human rights groups have been critical of India for executing two prisoners in the last few months. Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab was hanged in November 2012 in Pune for his role in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. In February, Afzal Guru was hanged in Delhi; he had been convicted of assisting in the attack on Parliament in 2001. His family was informed of his execution two days after he was buried at Tihar Jail.
- 8 facts about Devinderpal Singh Bhullar (niticentral.com)
- Can death be commuted on grounds of delay? Ruling today (thehindu.com)