- The Chief Justice of India-P.Sathasivam,
- Justice-Ranjan Gogoi
- and Justice-Shiva Kirti Singh,
after hearing the appeals of 15 death row convicts delivered its land-mark judgement, commuting the death penalties of all the 15 convicts to “Life Imprisonment”.
In the 15 death penalty convicts, the grounds of appeal to the Supreme Court of India, after their mercy pleas had been rejected by the President of India the following have been the grounds of appeals:
- Solitary Confinement
- Judgements Declared per Incuriam and
- Procedural Lapses.
The following is the list of the 15 death row convicts whose “Death Penalties” have been commuted into “Life Imprisonments”the Supreme Court of India on 21st January 2014:
(1)Suresh-60 years and
(2)Ramji-45 years, belonging to the state of Uttarpradesh,
both convicted on 19th December 1997 for killing 5 of their relatives,
(They had 17 years and 2 months of custody, out of which 16 years under death sentence and a delay of 12 years in disposing of their mercy petitions)
(3) Gnanaprakash-60 years- Elder Brother of ‘Forest Brigand –Sandalwood’- Veerappan
3 of the aides of Sandal wood Veerappan-
(4) Simon- 50 years,
(5) Madaiah-64 years &
(6) Bilavendran-55 years,
All the 4 convicted with Rigorous Life Imprisonment on 29th January 2001 for offences punishable under Indian Penal Code, TADA and the Arms Act, and the Rigorous Life Imprisonment was enhanced to death penalty on 29th January 2004.
(They had 20 years and 5 months custody, out of which 9 years and 11 months under death sentence and a delay of 9.5years in disposing of their mercy petitions)
(7) Praveen Kumar-55 years, of Karnataka, convicted on 5th February 2002 for murdering 4 members of his family,
(He had 15 years and 9 months of custody, out of which 11 years and 10 months under death sentence and a delay of 9.5 years in disposing of his mercy petition),
(8)Gurmeet Singh, 56 years, of Uttar Pradesh, who was convicted on 20th July 1992, for killing 13 of his family members in the year 1986.
(He had 26 years and 2 months of custody, out of which, 21 years and 5 months under death penalty and a delay of 6 years and 11 months in disposing of his mercy petition and a delay of 3.5 months in communicating the rejection of his mercy petition)
(9)Sonia-30 years, daughter of former Haryana MLA Ralu Ram Punia and her husband
(10)Sanjeev-38 years, who were awarded death penalty on 27th May 2004, for killing eight members of her family, including her parents and three children of her brother in the year 2001
(They had 12 years and 3 months of custody and a delay of 6 years and 5 months in disposal of their mercy petitions)
(11)Sundar Singh, of Uttarkhand, convicted on 30th June 2004, who had been insane right from the commitment of the offences
(He had 12 years and 3 months of custody and a delay of 6.5 years in disposing of their mercy petitions)
(12 )Jafar Ali-48 years, convicted on 14th July 2003 for murdering his wife and 5 daughters
(He had 11 years and 5 months of custody, out of which, 10 years and 5 months under death penalty, and a delay of 9 years in disposing of his mercy petition, and a delay of 3 months in communicating the rejection of his mercy petition)
(13) Magan Lal Berala-40 years, a tribal of Madhya Pradesh, convicted on 3rd February 2011, for murdering of his 5 daughters
(He had been under single cell confinement for more than 3 years and became mentally ill)
(14)Shivu-31 years, of Karnataka and
(15) Jadeswamy-25 years,
both of Karnataka, convicted with death penalty
(They had 12 years and 2 months of custody, out of which, 8 years and 5 months under death penalty, and a delay of 6.5 years in disposing of their mercy petition)
- Solitary confinement of a death convict before the rejection of mercy petition by the President of India is unconstitutional
- Legal aid must be provided inside jail to the prisoners at all the stages
- Procedures in placing the mercy petitions should be followed by the concerned government authorities
- Rejection of mercy petition by the Governor should be intimated in writing to the convicts and their relatives
- Rejection of mercy petition by the President of India should be intimated in writing to the convicts and their relatives
- The death penalty convicts are entitled to receive a copy of rejection of their mercy petitions by the Governor and the President of India
- A minimum of 14 days notice should be given for execution of the death penalty, after rejection of mercy petition by the President of India
- Mental health of the death penalty convicts must be evaluated periodically and the necessary treatment should be given to them
- Physical and Mental Health Reports by Government doctors and Psychiatrists should be obtained by the Prison Superintendents before execution of death penalty
- Copies of documents such as court papers and judgements should be given to the convicts for enabling appeals, mercy petitions and post-mercy procedures etc. within a week of getting the documents and assist the convicts in appeals etc.
- The Prison authorities must arrange for a final meeting of the death penalty convicts and their family members before their execution
- The Post-Mortem Report of the executed death penalty convict after the execution is obligatory.