New Delhi, India (April 03, 2012): The Supreme Court of India today called for the original files of 18 cases of Presidential review petitions pending before President of India. A Supreme court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya directed the Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval to place the files before it for its perusal following the submissions made by amicus curiae Ram Jethmalani and senior counsel K.T.S. Tulsi. Ram Jethmalani and K.T.S. Tulsi told the court that it should suo motu issue notice to the government to explain the delay in the disposal of the mercy petitions.
The judges told the counsel that they will peruse the files and issue notice if they were not satisfied about the reason for the delay.
K.T.S. Tulsi appeared for Professor Devender Pal Singh Bhullar who is on death row.
Prof. Bhullar was convicted and awarded death sentence on the basis of fractured evidence in a 1993 case. A petition was moved on Prof. Bhullar’s behal on January 14, 2003 which was rejected by the President of India on May 25, 2011.
The court was examining the question whether a convict who had filed a petition with President of India was entitled to commutation of death sentence to life imprisonment on the grounds of inordinate delay in deciding his petition.
The judges had expanded the scope of the hearing by seeking the details of all review petitions while hearing a plea by Bhullar challenging the rejection of his petition.
The court earlier asked if the delays by the government in deciding a petition was not a violation of the philosophy of the constitution.
Additional Solicitor General of India Harin Raval justified the delays by the executive, adding that there were also judicial delays.The court said that merely because there were judicial delays, it did not justify that the executive took a long time in deciding the petitions.