The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to take a decision on Khalistani terrorist Devinderpal Singh Bhullar's fresh mercy plea by March 27 or else it would decide on the issue of commuting his death sentence to life imprisonment on the ground of his mental condition.
A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam adjourned the case for hearing after the Centre contended that the mercy plea is still under consideration. "If you inform us (about the decision taken), it is well and good or we will decide the case," the bench told Attorney General GE Vahanvati.
It also said that there had been recent cases where the government had not been taking the advice of its law officers seriously and pointed out that last week one additional solicitor general sent a detailed letter to the Centre but it was rejected outright. The bench, however, said it could not reveal the details of it.
The court was hearing a curative petition filed by Bhullar's wife Navneet Kaur seeking commutation of death sentence on grounds of his mental condition and because of delay on the part of the government in deciding his earlier mercy plea.
She pleaded the apex court for a relook at its verdict by which her plea to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment was rejected. She filed the petition after the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of other prisoners on the ground of delay in deciding mercy plea. Earlier, the Centre had assured the Supreme Court that death sentence of Bhullar would not be executed till it took a decision on a fresh mercy plea on medical grounds.
The government had informed the court about the report sent by Delhi's Lieutenant Governor in which he had not favoured execution of Bhullar's death sentence. The plea of Bhullar's wife for commutation of death sentence assumes significance in view of the apex court's January 21 verdict holding that inordinate and in