The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the execution of Khalistani terrorist Devinderpal Singh Bhullar and agreed to review its judgment by which it had rejected the 1993 Delhi bomb blast convict’s plea to commute his death sentence to life term.
A four-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam issued notice to the Centre and the Delhi Government on a curative petition filed by Bhullar’s wife Navneet Kaur.
The Bench, also comprising Justice R M Lodha, Justice H L Dattu and S J Mukhopadhaya, directed the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), where Bhullar is being undergoing treatment, to file a medical report within a week on the condition of the death convict who is alleged to be suffering from a mental illness. “We would examine whether our judgment (pertaining to commutation of death sentence to life term on the ground of delay in deciding the mercy plea) is applicable or not in this case,” the Bench said, adding “we also want to know his present condition”.
At the outset of the hearing, the judges inquired if they could hear the grounds raised by Bhullar for revisiting the verdict on his death sentence in a curative petition. The court said curative petition could only be made if there was a miscarriage of justice or direct or indirect bias in the verdict sought to be re-looked.
Bhullar’s wife’s plea is crucial after the January 21 verdict of the court that hold inordinate and inexplicable delay by the government in deciding mercy plea of death row convicts can be a ground for commuting their sentence.