New Delhi, Feb 14 IBNS | 10 months ago

The Delhi government on Friday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court opposing the death penalty awarded to Khalistani militant Devender Pal Singh Bhullar in the 1993 Delhi bomb blast case.

"The government is opposed to giving death penalty to Bhullar as he is suffering from mental illness," read the affidavit.

The Supreme Court on Jan 31 stayed Bhullar's execution.

The apex court stayed the order taking into consideration Bhullar's mental health as he is at present undergoing treatment at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences.

The SC directed the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences to submit a report on his medical condition within a week.

Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking clemency for Bhullar.

On Jan 24, Bhullar approached the Supreme Court and sought commutation of his death penalty to life term.

Earlier in May 2013, Bhullar's wife Navneet Kaur moved the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the execution of his death sentence.

In a judgement which was expected to impact the clemency pleas of other death row convicts, the Supreme Court on Apr 12, 2013 had dismissed the plea for death sentence commutation by Bhullar who had appealed for life imprisonment owing to the delay in his execution.

Kaur in her petition said that as Bhullar has already filed a review petition against the apex court's order so the 1993 Delhi bomb blast convict should not be hanged till the court announced its order.

The Supreme Court on Apr 12, 2013 said there is no merit in the plea of Bhullar, who was convicted of killing nine people with a car bomb in Delhi in 1993.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal led a delegation of Shiromani Akali Dal MPs and ministers met President Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi in April 2013 and sought clemency for Bhullar.

Earlier, Press Council of India chairman Justice Markandey Katju had written to Mukherjee seeking pardon for Bhullar.

In his letter to the President, Justice Katju said that Bhullar has been in detention for over 18 years, since his arrival in India in January 1995, and has suffered prolonged mental agony and trauma for this long period.

However, the SC judges opined that delay by the President in deciding mercy petition was not a ground for commuting death sentence.

(Posted on 14-02-2014)

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