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SC agrees to hear in open court Bhullar’s plea against death

A bench comprising chief justice P Sathasivam and justices RM Lodha, HL Dattu and SJ Mukhopadhyaya decided to hear the curative petition filed by Bhullar’s wife Nevneet Kaur on Friday.
The hearing in the open court assumes importance in view of the 21 January judgment of five-judge constitutional bench holding that inordinate and inexplicable delay by government in deciding mercy plea of death row convicts can be a ground for commuting their sentence.

Bhullar’s wife filed the petition for a re-look against the apex court verdict which had rejected her plea to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment on grounds of delay on the part of the government in deciding his mercy plea.

Bhullar was convicted and awarded death penalty for triggering a bomb blast in New Delhi in September 1993, which killed nine persons and injured 25 others, including then Youth Congress president M S Bitta.

The apex court had on March 26, 2002 dismissed Bhullar’s appeal against the death sentence awarded by a trial court in August 2001 and endorsed by the Delhi high court in 2002.

He had filed a review petition which was also dismissed on 17 December, 2002. Bhullar had then moved a curative petition which too had been rejected by the apex court on 12 March, 2003.

Bhullar, meanwhile, had filed a mercy petition before the President on 14 January, 2003. The president, after a lapse of over eight years, dismissed his mercy plea on 14 May, 2011. Citing the delay, he had again moved the apex court for commutation of the death sentence but his plea was rejected.
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