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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Delhi govt favours giving Bhullar life

Bhadra Sinha, Hindustantimes.com  New Delhi, February 14, 2014
First Published: 13:06 IST(14/2/2014) | Last Updated: 09:43 IST(15/2/2014)

Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has supported death row convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar's plea not to hang him as he suffered from mental illness.

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In an affidavit filed on Friday before the Supreme Court, the Delhi government has cited Jung's recommendation made to President Pranab Mukherjee on January 20 and opposed his execution.

The document was submitted to the court in response to the SC order seeking a medical report on Bhullar. A four-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice had on January 31 issued the direction on his wife, Navneet Kaur's curative petition asking the court to reconsider its earlier verdict that dismissed his plea to commute his death sentence to life on the ground there was a delay of eight years in deciding his mercy plea by the President.

The top court agreed to consider Kaur's plea in the wake of a recent SC judgment that commuted death sentences of 15 convicts to life on the ground there was inordinate and inexplicable delay in deciding their mercy petitions. The SC also held that the judgment would also cover a convict a person suffering from mental illness as well.

Jung in his recommendation to the President had said though Bhullar was not in a vegetative state, yet, he cannot be executed as the chances of his recovery are "minimal".

"While in the medical sense the convict is not in a vegetative state, the chances of his full recovery are minimal. The question before me is whether in terms of moral principles such a person can be condemned to death," stated Jung's report.
The LG made his recommendation on the basis of the medical report submitted by a team of doctors appointed by the union health ministry.

"In many ways it would appear as if a child without a mind and in poor health is condemned to death for an incident that he committed when his mind and body were in completely different state," the LG report said.

The report further noted, "On principles of human ethics and natural justice, I cannot bring myself to recommend the rejection of the mercy petition of Navneet Kaur and my comments may kindly be forwarded to the President for his final disposal in the matter." 

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