SC to hear petition seeking stay on Bhullar’s execution

 New Delhi: The Supreme Court today agreed to consider a PIL filed by Navneet Kaur, wife of death row convict Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, pleading for a stay on his execution, pending the disposal of petitions seeking a review of the April 12, 2013, Supreme Court judgement refusing to show him mercy.

Appearing before a three-Judge Bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice Kurian Joseph, Navneet Kaur’s senior counsel Ram Jethmalani pleaded for an early hearing of the PIL. Jethmalani said Navneet Kaur had filed the PIL, apprehending execution of her husband despite the review petitions filed by her and Bhullar.The Bench questioned the logic behind the petition, pointing out that the Supreme Court had already rejected Bhullar’s review petition on December 17, 2002, and curative petition on March 12, 2003, against the March 22, 2002 judgement upholding the death sentence. Nevertheless, the Bench said it would consider the plea for a stay. The Supreme Court, in its April 2013 ruling on petitions filed by Bhullar and his wife seeking that Bhullar’s death sentence be commuted to that of life term had said that terrorists had no right to seek mercy citing official delays and other reasons.

The anti-terror court which had held the trial in Delhi had awarded the death sentence on August 25, 2001 “simply on the basis of his alleged confession recorded by a Deputy Commissioner of Police during police remand” as the police had “miserably failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and failed to produce any reliable witnesses,” Navneet Kaur pleaded in her PIL.

The PIL questioned the legality of the May 30, 2011, Presidential order rejecting Bhullar’s mercy plea, pointing out that the file sent to Rashtrapati Bhavan in 2005 and 2011 did not contain the fact that Justice MB Shah, presiding Judge of the SC Bench which had heard his appeal, had given a dissenting verdict, acquitting him for want of proof.

Source: The Tribune

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