The Supreme Court’s 4 Judges bench comprising the Chief Justice, J.S.Khehar, and justices Dipak Misra, J.Chelameswar, and Ranjan Gogoi, on 10th February dismissed the Central Government’s last legal remedy of Curative request in seeking the reversal of the Court’s landmark judgment in Shatrughan Chauan v Union of India.
The judgment, delivered by a three-Judge bench in January 2014, secured the exchange of as many as 15 death row convicts at one go, and is a source of hope for various convicts, whose mercy request are still languishing for decisions in the hands of the Governor, and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
The judgment not only considered the base of delay in disposal of mercy request, but other supervening factors like mental illness during the prolonged imprisonment, as grounds for commuting the death sentence of a con.
The President, Pranab Mukherjee, at present has no pending mercy request with him, having exchanged death sentences of 4 convicts in Bara Massacre case on 1st January 2017. The President reportedly cited Shatrughan Chauhan judgment, while setting aside the MHA recommendation to reject the mercy request of these 4 convicts.
Inquisitively, the Curative request was filed by the Centre only in January 2017, giving rise to doubt whether the Centre, was irked by the President’s decision to neglect its recommendation, while deciding the mercy request on the basis of this judgment.
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