Centre to seek review of SC verdict on commuting death sentence

Rajiv-Gandhi-killersNEW DELHI : In a clear signal that the apex court’s verdict holding that death sentence of condemned prisoner can be commuted to life due to delay in deciding mercy plea is not acceptable to it, the Centre on Wednesday said that it is considering to seek review of the judgement.
Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra, who was pleading before a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam to post the case of three death row convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assasination for next week, said that filing review against January 21 verdict is under “consideration”.
The ASG’s response came when senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for the condemned prisoners, expressed suspicion that the centre is buying time so that it could seek review of the apex court’s verdict.
“I have a strong suspicion that they want to take time in the case so that they can a file review petition,” Jethmalani said. Luthra then responded that the Centre is considering seeking review of the recent verdict in which the apex court held that inordinate and inexplicable delay by government in deciding mercy plea of death row convicts can be a ground for commuting their sentence.
The apex court had on January 21 ruled that delay by government in deciding mercy plea of death row convicts can be a ground for commuting their sentence and had granted life to 15 condemned prisoners including four aides of forest brigand Veerappan.
The court had held that prolonging execution of capital sentence has a “dehumanizing effect” on condemned prisoners who have to face the “agony” of waiting for years under the shadow of death during the pendency of their mercy plea.

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