The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre and the Delhi government to respond within two weeks to a petition seeking commuting the death sentence of terror convict Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, who is said to be mentally ill. A bench headed by justice GS Singhvi issued notices on the
fresh petition filed by Bhullar’s wife Navaneet Kaur, who requested the court to commute Bhullar’s death penalty to life term on the ground that it would be “inhuman and violative of Article 21 of the Constitution (right to life)” to execute a mentally ill person. A special TADA court had sentenced Bhullar to death on August 25, 2001, for his role in the September 10, 1993, in which nine security personnel were killed.
In her petition, Kaur demanded quashing of the President’s order contending it suffered from lack of application of mind and non-consideration of relevant circumstances; and had been made on extraneous grounds.
She claimed the last time when she met Bhullar at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences in Delhi, she found him to be quiet, withdrawn and unwilling to entertain any conversation except a smile.
“Execution of a mentally retarded prisoner is considered to be cruel and inhuman and should be deemed to be prohibited under Article 21 of Constitution of India,” she said.