May 28, 2011 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Prof Devinderpal Singh Bhullar Defence Committee Co-ordination Office. (IHRO’s Head Office): District Courts, Ludhiana- 141 001
‘Representation to President of India on Death Sentence of Prof. Devinderpal Singh Bhullar’
Sunday, March 30, 2003
His Excellency A P J Abdul Kalam The President of India Rashtrapati Bhawan
Respected Mr Abdul Kalam:
Where the judicial process ends, your jurisdiction begins. In one’s march to justice, you are the last resort in terms of the provisions of Indian Constitution. Your Excellency is constitutionally empowered to mitigate the errors that sometimes creep into judicial pronouncements due to certain legalistic compulsions and political prejudices.
We, in Prof Devinderpal Singh Bhullar Defence Committee, representing the Sikh Panth, have taken up the cause of the Sikh activist, who is facing gallows and has become victim of the fractured judicial judgement of the apex court.
As usual, the Supreme Court, more than even the lower courts, has taken a starkly legalistic view on the death sentence given to Prof Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, in Delhi Bomb Blast Case, based on erroneous and deliberately fabricated confessional statement under TADA, since repealed.
Devinderpal Singh was convicted of conspiracy based solely on a confession extracted under torture and repudiated by him. However, his alleged co-conspirator, Daya Singh Lahoria, was found not guilty. In criminal law, a conspiracy by definition requires at least two people. A conspiracy of one- as is the case here where Devinderpal Singh’s co-conspirator was found not guilty- is a legal fiction.
Moreover, the confessional statement was signed by a thumbprint. For a man who is highly educated, the sign of a thumbprint implies duress. Furthermore, none of the 133 witnesses produced by the prosecution identified Professor Bhullar, while the case was in lower court.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was a response to the barbarism and terror of Nazi Germany, when the United Nations (UN) adopted the Declaration on December 10 in 1948. Article 3 of the UN Declaration says: “everyone has the right of life, liberty and security of person.”
Amnesty International’s opposition to death penalty is unconditional and is based on the facts that every execution violates the fundamental human right to life and the right not to be subjected to torture or any other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as laid in Articles 6 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the UN Covenant to which India is a party.
The Amnesty International, in its report, while recommending the Government of India to consider certain corrective measures, too, has urged the Government to “take immediate steps to abolish the death penalty totally, in furtherance of UN objective of ultimate abolition of capital punishment.” Pending total abolition, AI has further asked the Indian Government to “ensure that the outstanding death sentences should be commuted, including that of Prof Devinderpal Singh Bhullar.”
The Second Optional Protocol of 1989 of the ICCPR, says: “The abolition of death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and progressive development of Human Rights,” thus linking the enjoyment of the Right of Life with the abolition of the death penalty. And, on the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights- 1948, the UN secretary-general had called upon the Member States to abolish death penalty, if they have not done so.
In addition, on April 28, 1999, the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNHRC) overwhelmingly voted for a resolution that had called for a global moratorium on the death penalty.
India is a signatory to both the UDHR and the ICCPR. Besides, the Constitution of India has enshrined the Right to Life as a Fundamental Right (Article 21). And importantly, the Evidence Act does not consider confessions made before the police officer as valid as has been in the case of Prof Bhullar.
We also know that death penalty is used by some States to silence political resistance or to eliminate their opponents. And for this purpose, laws such as TADA are used where fair trial is not at all possible. If justice is secured only by an act of killing, how legitimate is the law that sanctions that sort of justice.
We all know that God alone can take away life because He alone gives it. Why then, we arrogate to ourselves to finish it off, even though firmly believing that Ultimate Justice lies with God. And to supplement this spirit, Article 51A of the Indian Constitution urges compassion and humanism as fundamental duties.
The Constitutional power under Article 72 of granting amnesty is an executive act and not a judicial one. It is also an act of grace, “when it is full, it releases the punishment and blots out the existence of the guilt, so that in the eye of law, the offender is as innocent as if he had never committed the offence” (Ex parte Garland, (1873) 18 Law Edition 366.
The reason why the Executive is given such power, says Mr Taft, CJ, in American case (Ex parte Grossman, 27 US 87: 69 Law Edition 527), “(It) affords relief from undue harshness or evident mistake in the operation or enforcement of the criminal law.” Thus, you sir, being the Head of the State, should kindly correct, in the national interest, the blunder committed by the Judiciary in the enforcement of criminal law,” (such as TADA).
We earnestly hope that your Excellency will uphold the dignity, independence and prerogative of your high office as President of India and give a judicious and compassionate consideration to this representation, which is being filed on behalf of the entire Sikh Panth, including Sikhs living abroad, and you will not allow your steps to falter in exercising compassionately and humanely the sacred and super power given to you by the Indian Constitution to grant amnesty to Prof Devinderpal Singh Bhullar.
The entire Sikh community is watching the Government of India’s tactics of sending persons like Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh to the gallows and giving ministe¬rial berths to conspirators and murderers of thousands of Sikhs. When Governments become insane, countries do develop a tendency of breaking up. Here is the precise moment when your Excellency’s intervention is called for to put a complete stop to the process of motivated madness.
The Constitution has given this super power to your Excellency so that there may be a balance between Power and Justice. Hopefully, the super-power, in this particular case, will certainly prove to be an instrument to avert the judicial murder of the Sikh political activist for whom the whole Sikh nation worldwide feels seriously concerned.
Pascal has rightly stated, “Power without justice is soon questioned.” Sikhs and other minorities have been and continue to be subjected to repression and injustices of many kinds. Your Excellency’s wiser and enlightened timely step of amnesty to Prof Bhullar may not only give them a healing touch but may even persuade the governments to change their policies of re¬pression and keeping innocent people indefinitely in prison for a long time or killing mere suspects in faked encounters.
Justice M. B. Shah had acquitted Professor Bhullar, stating that the conspiracy theory falls flat as the “rest of the accused who are named in the confessional statement are not convicted or tried.”
In view of these facts, we respectfully appeal to your Excellency to take a politically and constitutionally correct decision of not only commuting the death sentence but also of freeing Prof Bhullar and earn the warm gratitude of the crores of the Sikhs.
We will appreciate if your Excellency could grant us audience so that we may personally let your Excellency know the gravity of the situation and the expectations of the Sikh Nation on This Issue.
(Justice A. S. Bains)- Convenor
(D. S. Gill), Advocate- Co-ordinator
(Surinderpal Singh)- Secretary
(Narain Singh)- Additional Secy
(Amrik Singh Muktsar)- Additional Secy
(Harshinder Singh)- Additional Secy
(Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke)- Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal)
(Hardalbir Singh Shah)- Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC)
(Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra)- Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal
(Karnail Singh Panjoli)- Youth Wing, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal
(Gurcharan Singh)- Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC)
(Charan Singh Lohara)- Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar)
(Balwinder Singh Bains)- Youth Wing, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar)
(Bhai Jasvir Singh Rode)- Shiromani Akali Dal (Panthic)
(Kuldip Singh Wadala)- Shiromani Akal Dal (Democratic)
(Sucha Singh Chhotepur)- Leader of Independent MLAs’ Group
(Kartar Singh Takkar)- Haryana State Akali Dal
(Avtar Singh Hit)- Delhi Akali Dal
(Ajmer Singh Lakhowal)- Bharti Kisan Union (Lakhowal)
(Balbir Singh Rajewal)- Bharti Kisan Union (Rajewal)
(Pishora Singh)- Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta)
(Mohkam Singh)- Damdami Taksal
(Arjan Singh)- Akhand Kirtani Jatha
(Baba Sukhchain Singh)- Sant Samaj (Baba Bedi)
(Rajinder Singh)- Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat
(Satnam Singh Paonta Sahib)- Dal Khalsa
(Gurcharan Singh Grewal- Sikh Students Federation (SSF- Mehta)
(Sewak Singh)- Sikh Students Federation (SSF)
(Karnail Singh Pirmohammed)- All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF)
(Kanwar Singh Dhami)- Gur Asra Trust
(Sandeep Kaur Kashtiwal)- Mata Gujri Sahara Trust
(M S Grewal)- International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO)
(K S Randhawa)- Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO)
(Balwinder Singh)- Khalra Mission Committee (KMC)
(Navkiran Singh)- Lawyers for Human Rights, International
(Inderjit Singh Jaijee)- Movement Against State Repression (MASR)
(Dr Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon)
(Darshan Singh- brother of Prof Bhullar)
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Related Topics: Prof. Devender Pal Singh Bhullar