April 19, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
New Delhi, India (April 19, 2013): According to media reports the home minister of India, Sushil Kumar Shinde said on April 18, 2013 that the representation submitted by Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders seeking clemency for the 1993 Prof. Devender Pal Singh Bhullar is under consideration.
There are reprots that the government has ordered the constitution of a medical board to ascertain the mental health conditions of Prof. Devender Pal Singh Bhullar. As per media reports Prof. Bhullar is undergoing treatment for depression with suicidal tendencies at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) in Delhi, where he has been admitted since December 2010.
Shinde reportedly told media persons at Delhi that: “Badal and deputy chief minister (Sukhbir Badal) met me in Vigyan Bhawan and they have also given representation to the Prime Minister and President. It is under consideration and we are examining the representation on all basis”.
It is notable that Prof. Bhullar was sentenced to death by a TADA court in 2001. His conviction was solely based on a fractured and uncorroborated confessional statement recorded in police custody. Prof. Bhullar had told the trial court at first available opportunity that his thumb impressions were forcibly taken by the police on blank papers. It is notable that the alleged confessional statement carries his thumb impression instead of his signatures.
The Supreme court of India had confirmed the death sentence in 2002 in a split decision – as Justice M. B. Shah, the presiding judge of three judges constitutional bench of SCI, had acquitted Prof. Bhullar while the death sentence was confirmed by other two judges, namely Justice Arijit Pasyat and Justice Aggarwal.
A petition was moved on Prof. Bhullar’s behalf before the President of India in 2003 who took eight years to decide the petition. The President of India rejected the clemency plea in 2011. The Government of India deliberately suffered the failure to seek opinion of the presiding judge of the SCI bench (under section 432 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure), that had confirmed the death sentence in a split decision. It is notable that there was a clear direction in the majority’s judgement confirming the death sentence that the govt. should seek and consider the opinion of Justice M. B. Shah while deciding the constitutional review petition moved under Article 72 of the Constitution of India.
Justice M. B. Shah has made it clear that his opinion was never sought in this case by the government. Meanwhile, the Public prosecutor, Advocate Anoop G. Chaudhary, who had pleaded the case against Prof. Bhullar in the Supreme Court of India has expressed his opinion that SCI’s majority judgement confirming death sentence to Prof. Bhullar was “most inappropriate” and “judicial error”. Advocate Chardhary has opinion that Justice M. B. Shah had rightly rejected his (Chaudhary’s) arguments while acquitting Prof. Bhullar.
Prof. Bhullar’s plea for clemency on accounts of inordinate delay in execution and health reasons was rejected by the Supreme Court of India on April 12, 2013.
Now a last hour plea is pending before with the government and according to news reports the government may take decision on it in coming days.
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