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Supreme Court to review Death penalty it upheld six years ago

A three-member bench led by justice Kurien Joseph decided to take a relook at its June 2012 order after being told that the convict was mentally unwell and unfit to be hanged. The man, Sudam, was awarded the death penalty for killing three children and a woman he lived with as her husband.

india Updated: Nov 23, 2018 23:35 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
supreme court,AM Khanwilkar,death penalty
In a rare development, the Supreme Court has agreed to reconsider its six-year-old order rejecting the review petition of a convict on death row. (HT Photo)

In a rare development, the Supreme Court has agreed to reconsider its six-year-old order rejecting the review petition of a convict on death row.

A three-member bench led by justice Kurien Joseph decided to take a relook at its June 2012 order after being told that the convict was mentally unwell and unfit to be hanged. The man, Sudam, was awarded the death penalty for killing three children and a woman he lived with as her husband.

The bench, also comprising justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, gave its order on November 12 when it took up Sudam’s plea to shift him from Nagpur jail to a prison facility in Aurangabad. “…we are of the view that the review petition regarding the sentence needs to be considered afresh,” the bench said, directing that a medical board be set up to examine Sudam. The board, comprising one clinical psychiatrist, has one month to submit its report to the SC.

While posting the review petition for a fresh hearing in the second week of January next year, the bench ordered Maharashtra government officials to consider Sudam’s jail shift request within four weeks.

Sudam was convicted by a trial court and sentenced to death. The Bombay High Court dismissed his appeal for a review. The Supreme Court confirmed capital punishment in June 2012, terming him “a menace to society who cannot be reformed”.

The SC’s November 12 order is in conformity with a 2014 landmark judgement by a Constitution Bench, which made it compulsory for a three-judge bench to hear review petitions by death penalty convicts in the open court and not in chambers by circulation, as is the practice.

First Published: Nov 23, 2018 23:35 IST