The Supreme Court has refused to review its decision dismissing Khalistani terrorist Devender Pal Singh Bhullar’s petition to have his death sentence commuted on the ground of inordinate delay.
A bench headed by justice GS Singhvi, which had on April 12 dismissed Bhullar’s plea to commute his death sentence in the 1993 Delhi blast case, rejected his review petition on Tuesday.
Bhullar, 48, had wanted to have his death penalty commuted on the grounds that the president had taken too long to decide on his mercy plea. Rejection of review petition further pushes towards the gallows the man convicted 12 years ago for a 1993 bomb blast in the heard of the capital that killed nine and injured 17, including the then Youth Congress president MS Bitta.
The SC had said such a delay could not be cited to commute death sentences in terror crimes, unlike in case of murders committed due to personal animosity or property disputes.
If executed, Bhullar would be the third convict in terror-related cases to be hanged since November last year, the other two being 26/11 convict Ajmal Kasab and Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru.
The Shiromani Akali Dal and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee had appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for commutation of Bhullar’s death sentence to life imprisonment. Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal had said that the case deserved a review because of Bhullar's deteriorating mental health and for communal harmony in Punjab and the rest of the country.
September 11, 1993: Sikh militant Devender Pal Singh Bhullar carries out blast outside Delhi Youth Congress office in New Delhi. Nine killed. Seventeen, including then Youth Congress chief MS Bitta, injured.
2001: A Delhi court sentences Bhullar to death. He appeals.
2003: Bhullar files mercy petition before President after SC dismisses his appeal.
2011: President Pratibha Patil rejects his plea. He moves SC again, says inordinate delay in rejection should be a ground for commuting death penalty.
April 2013: SC rejects his petition.