Citing his mental condition, the Delhi government informed the Supreme Court that the death sentence awarded to Devendra Pal Singh Bhullar in the 1993 Delhi bomb blast case be commuted to life term.
It said Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung had already recommended to President Pranab Mukherjee that the death penalty awarded to Bhullar be commuted to life sentence as he was suffering from a psychiatric disorder.
On January 31, a four-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, acting on a curative petition, had stayed Bhullar’s execution and asked the Delhi Government to file its response.
Bhullar’s wife Navneet Kaur had sought life term citing the January 21 judgment that inordinate delay in disposal of a mercy petition by the President and mental illness were grounds for commutation of death penalty to life sentence.
The court asked Delhi-based Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) to examine Bhullar and submit a report on his state of mental health within a week. The President had sought the L-G’s views on a fresh mercy plea from Ms. Kaur.
Upon this, a medical board was set up and the board visited (IHBAS) on December 3, 2013 and examined Bhullar, undergoing treatment there since 2010.
In its report, the Board said Bhullar “can comprehend simple questions and commands, though his responses remain mostly irrelevant and incoherent” and that “the chances of his full recovery remain poor, though, he may show variable and ill-sustained improvement over a period of time.”