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India: SCI commutes death sentence of MN Dass on ground of delay in execution

May 1, 2013 | By

New Delhi, Indian (May 01, 2013): It is learnt that the Supreme Court of India (SCI), that had refused to commuted the death punishment announced by Indian courts against a Sikh political prisoner – Professor Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, has now commuted the death sentence of another death row convict named Mahendra Nath Das to life sentence.

Mahendra Nath Das’s constitutional review petition against death sentence was rejected by President of India in 2011 along with review petition of Prof. Bhullar.

Mahendra Nath Das was reportedly convicted in a murder case in Assam in 1997 and was on death row since February 1998 when his death sentence was confirmed by the Gauhati High Court.

The Supreme court of India (SCI) has reportedly commuted the death penalty of Mahendra Nath Das on the grounds of delay in execution.

It is notable that the SCI had refused to entertain the plea of inordinate and prolonged delay in execution as a ground of commutation of death sentence in the case of Prof. Bhullar.

The Sikhs had been persistently accusing the Indian system for have dual standards of law, and for being discriminatory against the Sikhs.

Prof. Bhullar is facing threats of imminent execution in India. He was sentenced to death by trial court (in 2001) solely on the basis of a fractured confession extracted through torture in police custody. Prof. Bhullar’s case is the only case in India where a persons was going to be hanged despite being acquitted by the presiding judge of a three judges bench of SCI. It is notable tthat two other judges of the SCI bench had confirmed his death sentence (in 2002). It is notable that the public prosecutor who had pleaded against Prof. Bhullar in SCI has recently termed the majority judgement confirming the death sentence of Prof. Bhullar as “most inappropriate” and “judicial error”.

Sikh groups have alleged that Indian state is using death penalty as a tool of political control and Prof. Bhullar was being execution for political reasons.

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