A Mentally ill and constant psycho patient is on death row
August 23, 2013:
The Honorable court’s upholding of its decision, announced on April 12th, 2013 and rejecting Prof. Bhullar’s review petition on August 14th, has created an imminent death threat to a person who has gone through around 18 years of tortuous and unjustified incarceration out of which about 12 years have been in solitary confinement.
Prof. Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar is facing the death sentence on none other but on his own witness, the statement of confession which he has repeatedly stated afterwards, that it was the result of continuous torture. None of the 133 witnesses, produced by the prosecutor could identify him and many of them stated clearly that he was not the wanted person. Another aspect that is out of all the rationales is that Bhullar is going to be the first person to be executed on a split decision of the apex court. Justice M.B. Shah who was presiding over the three member bench, acquitted Bhullar on the bases of weak evidence. He was off the view that since the other person in this case has been acquitted and the only statement against him was of Bhullar so he himself must also be set free as there is no evidence against him other than his own. Secondly, no one alone can knit a conspiracy.
Since 18 years, Mr. bhullar has been knocking the doors of justice time and again but all the time the answer has been the same I.e. the professor was trialed under the TADA act, that allowed the confession of the accused to be used against him as the evidence, thus he remains guilty despite his retraction.
Having been declared guilty by the TADA court, Bhullar went to the appellate court that verified the verdict of the lower court on 25th of August 2001. Then the decision of the Supreme Court on 22nd of March 2002 and the verdict of the review petition remained the same.
As the last resort, the professor placed a mercy petition before the president of India and kept waiting for his fate for no less than 8 years, 4 months and 11 days. But the highest custodian of justice, the head of state, after keeping the matter in cold storage for so long, showed him the way to gallows on May 25, 2011.
The rejection of clemency was challenged in the supreme court on Two grounds (a) that there has been so much inordinate delay in the response of the petition that the petitioner has already gone through more than Sixteen years of imprisonment and (b) that Having faced all sorts of physical mental and psychological torture in more than 16 years, Mr. Bhullar has become a constant patient. Since January 2011, he is in Mental Hospital at New Delhi. According to doctors, he is suffering from depression, Arthritis and Cervical for Six years and Hypertension for Eight years.
It is an established fact that all international and moral norms advocate that no insain psychic patient should be executed because he cannot even know and fully understand the reason of his execution. UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions in his statement said in 1997 that Governments that continue to use the death penalty “with respect to minors and the mentally ill are particularly called upon to bring their domestic legislation into conformity with international legal standards.”
UN Commission on Human Rights 2000 urged all states that maintain the death penalty “not to impose it on a person suffering from any form of mental disorder; not to execute any such person.” (http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/issues/death-penalty/us-death-penalty-facts/death-penalty-and-mental-illness)
This is the reason that ever-since the decision of Supreme Court has been announced on 14th of August, there is a rush of blood in all relevant human right activists. In its reactionary statement, Amnesty International said that Bhullar was receiving treatment at a psychiatric facility, “and a medical board has reportedly stated that he is suffering from severe depression and shows symptoms of psychosis and suicidal tendencies. (http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/issues/death-penalty/us-death-penalty-facts/death-penalty-and-mental-illness)
Thus Voices for Freedom (VFF) urges the international community to build pressure on the Indian government to commute Mr. Bhullar’s death sentence on both medical and legal grounds as it is not the matter of an individual’s life, it is against the spirit of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Moreover, almost 2-3rd of UN member states has abolished the death sentence so the world’s biggest democracy must also move in this direction.
Last but not the least, commutation of Prof. Bhullar’s capital punishment would help restoring the trust of the community that feels for years that the union government is not doing justice with it. It may be a good ray of hope for all those political prisoners who are languishing in Indian jails and do not know what lies next.