ACHR PRESS RELEASE

ACHR INDEX: PR/IND/16/2013
Date: 01 May 2013

ACHR welcomes commutation of death sentence of M N Das and
demands Bhullar’s death sentence too be commuted to life imprisonment

New Delhi: New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights welcomed the Supreme Court’s order today commuting death sentence of Mr Mahendra  Nath Das, a condemned prisoner from Assam, to life sentence. Mr Das had been on death row for last 16 years and the long delay in deciding the mercy plea has been considered as a ground for commuting the death sentence.

“The judgment of the Supreme Court is a step in the right direction for eventual abolition of death penalty in the country. It recognizes that life imprisonment remains an equally efficacious form of justice and death penalty is not the only form of justice.” – stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

Considering that then President APJ Abdul Kalam in a communication on 30 September 2005 advised the Home Minister, “to consider extending the benefit of clemency to Mahendra Nath Das”, there was no ground to recall the file for reconsideration in the first place, and then reject the mercy plea by then President Pratabha Patil.

Asian Centre for Human Rights urged the Government of India to commute all death penalty sentences to life imprisonment including that of Mr Devender Pal Singh Bhullar and declare a moratorium on death penalty. On 18th April 2013, Asian Centre for Human Rights submitted a fresh mercy plea to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking commutation of death sentence of condemned prisoner, Mr Devender Singh Bhullar to life imprisonment, among others, on the ground that Mr Das’s mercy plea was considered twice by the President and therefore, Bhullar’s mercy plea too be considered afresh. [Ends]