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Centre moves SC to impose time limit to avail reliefs by convicts in death row cases

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NEW DELHI :
The Central Government on Wednesday moved Supreme Court with an application to impose time limit of seven days to file mercy plea by the death row convicts.

This application comes in the wake of the four convicts of Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case filing mercy petition, curative petitions, review petitions and other petitions one by one to delay the death sentence awarded to them.

The petition has been drafted by Advocate B.V Balram Das and seeks amendment in the “common final judgment” passed on 21 January, 2014 in the case of Shatrughan Chauhan & Another versus Union of India and Others.

The Government has approached the Apex court to make appropriate modification in the 2014 judgments of the Shatrughan Chauhan case where the court has issued directions keeping the rights of the convict in mind as it is apparent from the guidelines themselves. As per the Government the need of the hour is to lay down guidelines in the interest of the victims, their families and in larger public interest, hence the prayer for amendments.

The Government in its petition filed today evening has also sought time limit for filing curative and review petitions cases related to death row. In addition the petitioners have also sought directions from the court to the states and jail authorities along with the competent courts to issue death warrants within 7 days of rejection of mercy petition irrespective of the stage at which the review, curative or mercy petition of other co-convicts is at that moment.

Referring to the Shatrughan Chauhan judgment the applicants have submitted that the court had in its previous guidelines had “already laid down that once the convict comes to know of his ultimate fate, it is de-humanising to delay the execution of the death sentence.” In view of this the Government reiterates that the death sentence should be executed within a stipulated time frame and should not be lingered on due to various filing of petitions and procedural delays.

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