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HindustanTimes Thu,27 Nov 2014

Delhi govt refers case to home ministry

PTI  New Delhi, June 19, 2013
First Published: 20:15 IST(19/6/2013) | Last Updated: 20:20 IST(19/6/2013)

The Delhi government has decided to refer to the union home ministry a decision on the execution of death-row convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar following a medical board report that he is under severe mental depression.

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The medical board, set up by the Delhi government to examine his health, has in its report submitted last month said that Bhullar was not mentally sound as he was suffering from severe depression.

A Tihar jail official said as per the jail manual, a death-row convict cannot be executed if he is not physically and mentally fit.

Bhullar has been in the Institute for Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) here for more than two years. Doctors treating him said he is suffering from depression and has suicidal tendencies.

He was given the death penalty after being convicted of triggering a bomb blast here in September 1993 that killed nine people. Twentyfive people had been injured, including then Youth Congress President Maninderjit Singh Bitta.

Sources in the Delhi government said the report of the medical board was sent to Lt governor Tejendra Khanna earlier this month, following which he referred it to Tihar director general Vimla Mehra.

"The medical board said Bhullar is not mentally fit. As per norms, an unfit person cannot be hanged. It is a sensitive matter and we have decided to seek the opinion of the home ministry," the sources said.

They said Khanna was of the opinion that laid-down norms must be followed in the case. The sources said the medical board may again examine Bhullar after some months.

"We are closely monitoring him. He still has suicidal tendencies," a doctor attending to Bhullar said.

In April, the Supreme Court had dismissed Bhullar's plea for commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment on the ground of delay in deciding his mercy plea.

However, Bhullar's wife had on May 7 filed a review petition against the Supreme Court verdict of April 12.

After the Supreme Court's dismissal of Bhullar's plea for commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Badal had approached Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the home minister to find a way out to stop Bhullar's execution on the grounds of peace and harmony in the state.

Bhullar had filed a mercy petition before the President on January 14, 2003. The petition was dismissed on May 25, 2011.


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