New Delhi: Pleading that a mentally imbalanced person should not be executed, the wife of terrorist Devender Pal Singh Bhullar has urged the Supreme Court to quash his death penalty and commute it to life term.
In a fresh writ petition filed by senior counsel K T S Tulsi, the convict's wife Navaneet Kaur submitted that carrying out the death penalty would amount to 'cruelty' and would be 'inhuman' and violative of Article 21 of the Constitution as no person suffering from mental retardation could be executed.
Bhullar was sentenced to death by a designated TADA court on August 25, 2001 for his role in the September 10, 1993 bomb blast in Delhi targeting the cavalcade of then AIYC president Maninderjit Singh Bitta, who escaped with serious injuries, though nine security personnel were killed.
The Supreme Court had earlier dismissed his appeal, review and also the curative petition on March 12, 2003.
President Pratibha Patil had on May 25 rejected his mercy plea, two days after the Supreme Court sought response from the Centre and the Delhi government on the 5,700 days of delay in deciding the plea.
In her fresh writ petition through counsel Raj Kamal, Kaur has submitted that the May 25 order of the President ought to be quashed as "the same suffers from lack of application of mind, non-consideration of relevant circumstances and presumably having being made on extraneous grounds and/or on irrelevant facts".
Kaur claimed that Bhullar has turned 'mentally retarded' on account of more than 5,700 days of delay in deciding the mercy petition.
The petitioner claimed that the last time when she met Bhullar at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), she found him to be quiet, withdrawn and unwilling to entertain any conversation except a smile.
"His condition has continued to deteriorate in post-conviction period since the year 2003. Earlier the petitioner thought that he was only suffering from
hypertension and arthritis but now she realises that the psychotic symptoms with suicidal tendencies are a by-product of suffering a slow death on account of being a condemned prisoner since 2001.
"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. In the US, there is a national consensus that mentally retarded persons are excluded from execution because it can neither serve as retribution nor deterrence," the petition stated.
Kaur cited the apex court's ruling in the Triveniben Vs State of Gujarat (1989) case that undue delay in execution of death sentence entitles the condemned prisoner under Article 32 of the Constitution to approach court that his death sentence be commuted to life imprisonment.