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Indian SC commuted death penalty of 13 prisoners to life in prison

22 January, 2014

NEW DELHI: Indian Supreme Court on Tuesday commuted the death penalty of 15 convicts to life saying the rejection of their mercy petition by President was flawed.

The death penalty of 13 condemned prisoners has been commuted to life on the ground of inordinate delay on part of President to decide their mercy pleas.

The other two were given life sentence on finding that long years in death row had turned them mentally ill.

The top court held that delay in deciding mercy plea is a relevant ground for commuting death sentence to life imprisonment.

Death sentence of a condemned prisoner cannot be executed if he is suffering from mental illness and schizophrenia and must be commuted to life imprisonment, the judges said.

Condemned prisoner Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar would benefit from this judgment as the SC disagreed with an earlier judgment which had said inordinate delay would not be applicable to terrorism cases.

SC said every person on death row, whether convicted for multiple murder or terrorism cases, will have a right to approach SC to challenge the rejection of their mercy petitions on grounds of inordinate delay in deciding the mercy plea.


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