SC Dismisses Centre's Plea on Mercy Petition

Published: 12th March 2014 06:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th March 2014 07:03 PM   |  A+A-

Supreme-Court
By IANS

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the central government's plea for a review of its January 21 order which said unexplained and inordinate delay in deciding mercy petitions was a ground for commutation of death sentence to life imprisonment.

Condoning the government delay in filing the review petition, the bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh said: "Permission for hearing in open court is rejected. We have carefully gone through the review petitions and connected papers. We find no merit in the review petitions and the same are accordingly dismissed."

The court  in its January 21 ruling had said there can be no distinction between people convicted under anti-terror laws or normal criminal laws for seeking commutation of death sentence on the grounds of inordinate and unreasonable delay in deciding the mercy petition by the president.

The court said this also included death row convicts suffering from insanity or mental illness or schizophrenia.

 

Implications

The court earlier commuted the death sentence of 15 convicts. In cases of 13 death row convicts, it was on account of years of delay in deciding the mercy petitions and in respect of two, it was due to mental illness.

The same judgment was relied on by three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case in getting their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment.

It is now being relied upon by Navneet Kaur - wife of 1993 Delhi terror convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar - to seek commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment on grounds of delay in deciding his mercy petition and his mental health.

 

SC Verdict Illegal: Centre

The central government March 1 moved the Supreme Court, seeking a recall of its verdict holding that inordinate, unexplained and unreasonable delay in deciding mercy petitions by the president was a ground for commutation of death sentence, and it would not exclude those convicted under anti-terror laws.

The centre said the president's decision to reject mercy petitions could not have been interfered with by the court as it was not subject to judicial review.

It had contended that the court could not have substituted life imprisonment for death sentence while exercising its power of judicial review of the president's decision to reject the mercy petitions.

The centre also argued that if at all the court was of the view that the mercy petitions were not properly considered, then these could have been returned to the president for reconsideration.

The centre also said the scope of judicial review was extremely limited and ought not to have been exercised except on the grounds of mala fide, political expediency, extraneous factors, undue haste and non-applicability of mind to the material available before the president.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp