The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to explain why it has delayed taking a decision on the mercy plea filed by terrorist Devender Pal Singh Bhullar for eight years. Bhullar was awarded death penalty for triggering a bomb blast here in September 1993. As many as nine people were killed in the incident.
A bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi directed the Centre to file an affidavit by October 10, giving reasons for the delay in deciding Bhullar’s plea filed before the President in 2003. After a lapse of over eight years, the President dismissed his mercy plea on May 25 this year.
“Everybody is anxious to know what happened during these eight years. What happened between 2003 and 2011?,” the court asked.
The bench further said, “Twenty people have been sentenced to death, some of them must have support of one group or the other, but, some of them don't have godfathers. But, we will purely go by constitutional and legal issues, totally uninfluenced by other issues.”
Bhullar was sentenced to death by a Delhi TADA court on August 25, 2001 for his role in the blast, targeting the then Youth Congress president Maninderjit Singh Bitta’s calvacade. While Bhitta ecsaped the blast, his security guard succumbed to his injuries.
Bhullar has approached the SC despite the latter rejecting his review and curative petition against the court verdict upholding his death sentence. The SC had on March 26, 2002 dismissed Bhullar’s appeal against the conviction.
His review was dismissed on December 17, 2002 and curative on March 12, 2003. Though his curative was still under consideration, Bhullar had filed his mercy petition with the President. He is now undergoing treatment for hypertension, psychiatric illness and suicidal tendencies.