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Supreme Court Judgement on Mercy Pleas

Supreme Court Judgement on Mercy Pleas

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Supreme Court Judgement on Mercy petitions
Supreme Court Judgement on Mercy petitions

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Published by: ndtvonline on Jan 21, 2014
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03/23/2014

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REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 55 OF 2013
Shatrughan Chauhan & Anr. .... Petitioner (s) Versus Union of India & Ors. .... Respondent(s)
WITH WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 34 OF 2013 WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 56 OF 2013 WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 136 OF 2013 WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 139 OF 2013 WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 141 OF 2013 WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 132 OF 2013 WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 187 OF 2013 WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 188 OF 2013 WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 190 OF 2013 WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 191 OF 2013 WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 192 OF 2013 WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 193 OF 2013
J U D G M E N T
P.Sathasivam, CJI.
1) Our Constitution is highly valued for its articulation. One such astute drafting is Article 21 of the Constitution which postulates that every human being has inherent right to life and mandates that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure
 
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established by law. Over the span of years, this Court has expanded the horizon of
‘right to life’ 
 guaranteed under the Constitution to balance with the progress of human life.  This case provides yet another momentous occasion, where this Court is called upon to decide whether it will be in violation of Article 21, amongst other provisions, to execute the levied death sentence on the accused notwithstanding the existence of supervening circumstances. Let us examine the supervening circumstances of each individual case to arrive at a coherent decision. 2) All the above writ petitions, under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, have been filed either by the convicts, who were awarded death sentence or by their family members or by public-spirited bodies like People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) based on the rejection of mercy petitions by the Governor and the President of India. 3) In all the writ petitions, the main prayer consistently relates to the issuance of a writ of declaration declaring that execution of sentence of death pursuant to the rejection of the mercy petitions by the President of India is unconstitutional and to set aside the death sentence
 
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imposed upon them by commuting the same to imprisonment for life. Further, it is also prayed for declaring the order passed by the Governor/President of India rejecting their respective mercy petitions as illegal and unenforceable. In view of the similarity of the reliefs sought for in all the writ petitions, we are not reproducing every prayer hereunder, however, while dealing with individual claims, we shall discuss factual details, the reliefs sought for and the grounds urged in support of their claim at the appropriate place. Besides, in the writ petition filed by PUDR, PUDR prayed for various directions in respect of procedure to be followed while considering the mercy petitions, and in general for protection of rights of the death row convicts. We shall discuss discretely the aforesaid prayers in the ensuing paragraphs. 4) Heard Mr. Ram Jethmalani, Mr. Anand Grover, Mr. R. Basant, Mr. Colin Gonsalves, learned senior counsel and Dr. Yug Mohit Chaudhary, learned counsel for the petitioners and Mr. Mohan Parasaran, learned Solicitor General, Mr. L.N. Rao, Mr. Siddharth Luthra, learned Additional Solicitor Generals, Mr. V.C. Mishra, learned

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