The government is reconsidering the decision to execute death row convict DPS Bhullar after the Punjab government and a human rights group moved the Rashtrapati Bhavan with fresh mercy pleas on Thursday.
The pleas, citing Bhullar’s mental condition, are likely to help the government in wriggling out of a tight spot following the rejection of his petition by the Supreme Court last week.
The Centre’s final decision will depend on the report of an independent medical board being set up by the Delhi government to ascertain whether Bhullar’s mental condition allows him to be hanged.
The head of the team of doctors looking after him at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), Dr Nimesh G Desai told HT: “He (Bhullar) is suffering from depression and psychotic disorder since last two years….Our view is he is mentally ill.”
Bhullar’s lawyers have alleged that former President Pratibha Patil was not informed about Bhullar’s mental condition when she rejected his mercy petittion in 2011.
Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal said his party’s delegation told President Pranab Mukherjee that Bhullar is not in a fit state of mind and his death sentence should be converted into life imprisonment.
Shinde for keeping fate of pleas secret
Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde asserted that the government wanted to keep the fate of mercy petitions a secret lest people approach the Supreme Court and get a stay. The minister’s reference was to the SC stay on the hanging of 8 death row convicts after their mercy petitions were rejected by Rashtrapati Bhavan. Shinde said he favoured informing the family before execution.