Former Supreme Court judge V.R. Krishna Iyer has commended the Supreme Court’s January 21 judgment that held that inordinate delay on the part of the President in taking a decision on a clemency petition submitted by a convict sentenced to death would entitle the victim to commutation of the death sentence to life term.
In a letter to Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, who led a bench comprising Justice R. Gogoi and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh, the distinguished jurist said he was deeply touched by the judgment that could save a number of lives.
“They suffered torture and agony with a pending death sentence … Years passed and their plea was pending before the President. A Bench of the Supreme Court which you were presiding appreciated the unbearable agony of a death sentence pending against them,” he added.
He appreciated the humane concern showed by the Bench for their suffering, realising their distress. He termed it “a remarkable display of judicial compassion…”
“Your concern for the distress of the victims of death sentence was justice and mercy. Here for the first time the suffering of the [convicts facing the] death sentences moved the heart of the court and it found these years of delay as an agony sufficient to commute death sentence into life imprisonment.” He said the “stock of mercy” was “a rare expression of clemency jurisdiction.”