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Human rights body too submits fresh mercy plea
Claiming that there is a precedent for the President to reconsider a mercy plea twice, a human rights body —Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) — on Thursday submitted a fresh mercy plea to the President Pranab Mukherjee seeking commutation of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar’s death sentence.
ACHR is a body dedicated to promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Asian region. Referring to the minutes of Rashtrapati Bhavan supplied under RTI Act, ACHR maintained that mercy plea of Assam’s death-row convict Mahendra Nath Das was considered twice.
ACHR director Suhas Chakma argued that if Das’ mercy plea could be reviewed twice, there is no reason why Bhullar’s mercy plea cannot be considered afresh.
The organisation also pointed, “The Government has failed to comply with the order of majority judges —Justice Arijit Pasyat and Justice BN Agrawal — in the case of Bhullar that ‘if any motion is made in terms of Sections 432, 433 and 433A of the Code and/or Article 72 or Article 161 of the Constitution as the case may be’, the views of presiding judge Justice MB Shah be taken as per Section 432(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code.”
Justice Shah’s views have not been sought and the government cannot hang somebody in clear violation of the order set out by the Supreme Court, it added.
Chakma said Bhullar would have been acquitted as under Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act which entails that any confessional statement given by accused to police is inadmissible as evidence and cannot be brought on record by prosecution and insufficient to convict the accused, he would have been tried under Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA).
The Human Rights organisation besides commuting Bhullar’s death sentence, has sought setting up of committee to consider ways to abolish death penalty and declare a moratorium on death penalty.
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