Important conclusions of SC judgment on Devender Bhullar

* No Judicial Review of the undue delay in deciding mercy petition.

“If the enormity of the crime is such that a large number of innocent people are killed without rhyme or reason, then too, award of extreme penalty of death will be justified. All these factors have to be taken into consideration by the president or the governor, as the case may be, while deciding a petition filed under Article 72 or 161 of the constitution and the exercise of power by the president or the governor, as the case may be, not to entertain the prayer for mercy in such cases cannot be characterised as arbitrary or unreasonable and the Court cannot exercise power of judicial review only on the ground of undue delay.”

Referring to the “attractive” arguments of amicus curiae Ram Jethamalani and T.R. Andhyarujina, the Supreme Court said: “On a deeper consideration of all the facts, we are convinced that the present case is not a fit one for exercise of the power of judicial review for quashing the decision taken by the President not to commute the sentence of death imposed on the petitioner.”

* Monster of Terrorism.

Noting that the jurist and human rights activitists had not succeeded in persuading the government to abolish the death sentence, the court said: “It is a different story that they have not succeeded because in recent years the crime scenario has changed all over the world. While there is no abatement in the crimes committed due to personal animosity and property disputes, people across the world have suffered on account of new forms of crimes. The monster of terrorism has spread its tentacles in most of the countries. India is one of the worst victims of internal and external terrorism. In the last three decades, hundreds of innocent lives have been lost on account of the activities of terrorists, who have mercilessly killed people by using bullets, bombs and other modern weapons.”

* Untold story of five years nine months.

“After the matter was processed at different levels of the government, in the backdrop of internal and external pressures, the case was finally submitted to the president on 11.7.2005 with the recommendation that the mercy petition of the petitioner be rejected. It is not borne out from the record as to what happened for the next five years and nine months, but this much is evident that no decision was taken by the president.”

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