The Supreme Court verdict rejecting the mercy petition of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar — who had sought commutation of his death penalty saying he had undergone eight years of agony waiting for the President's decision on his mercy plea — should be welcomed by all law-abiding people. The argument that many European nations have abolished the death penalty and that it is opposed to human rights is not convincing. Nor is the plea that there was a delay in taking a decision on the mercy petition. Death row convicts should be thankful that their lives have been spared for so long. They should be put to death soon. This will save the money spent on keeping them alive in jails.
No doubt Bhullar deserves the death penalty. But it was wrong on the government’s part to have kept his mercy petition pending for eight years. The Supreme Court should fix a time limit for the President to dispose of mercy petitions, failing which the petitions should get automatically rejected.