Should Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, a Khalistan Liberation Front (KLF) operative whose mercy petition was rejected by President Pratibha Patil last Thursday, be spared the noose owing to his alleged mental ailments?
According to Bhullar’s lawyer KTS Tulsi he should be spared on those grounds. Tulsi said, “DPS Bhullar is admitted at IHBAS (Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences) psychiatry ward since four months ago and is suffering from psychological problems and has shown suicidal tendency. As per his doctors, he has been suffering from hypertension since seven years and depression since six years.”
The former additional solicitor general of India added, “His mental state renders him unfit for execution and the death sentence should be commuted to a life term. His execution will be unconstitutional and in-executable, according to the jurisprudence of humanism.”
Tulsi has now sought the Supreme Court’s intervention in this regard.
Bhullar, a mechanical engineer, was sentenced to death for a 1993 car bomb attack in Delhi by a designated court in August 2001. His mercy petition was pending since 2003.
Echoing Tulsi’s view, senior advocate Majeed Memon, who is based in Mumbai, told HT, “According to settled laws in India, if a death convict’s mental state is certified as unsound by a competent medical authority then he cannot be executed. It should either get stayed or deferred.”
Constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap told HT, “If insanity is certified by a board of medical experts, the execution of a death sentence is stopped.”
Guwahati HC stays Das execution
The Guwahati high court on Tuesday stayed the execution of murder convict Mahendra Nath Das and directed the Centre and the Assam government to explain why his mercy petition was kept pending for 12 years.
The high court’s order came after Kusum Bala Das, mother of Mahendra Nath Das, filed a petition asking for commuting the death sentence to life imprisonment.
Arup Borbora, a senior advocate of the Guwahati high court, said a bench comprising justice BP Kotoky and justice BP Sarma, after examining the petition, passed an order under which the execution of Mahendra Nath Das was stayed till June 17.
President Pratibha Patil last month rejected Das’s mercy petition. On April 24, 1996, Das had beheaded Harakanta Das, secretary of the Kamrup District Truck Association.