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Plea seeks referring case to constitutional bench

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Plea seeks referring case to constitutional bench

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times New Delhi, April 17, 2013

First Published: 23:43 IST(17/4/2013) | Last Updated: 00:23 IST(18/4/2013)

A Patiala resident has sent a petition to the Supreme Court, seeking a stay on Devinderpal Singh Bhullar's execution so as to enable a larger bench to consider the legal issues involved in the case.

In a petition addressed to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir, Tarsem Singh Khatkar (73) said the apex court bench that rejected Bhullar's petition could not have entertained the matter as a "substantial question of law" was to be interpreted and the "same can be done by a five-judge bench only".

Citing Article 145 (3) of the Constitution, he requested the CJI to reopen Bhullar's case by referring it to a constitutional bench.

In a related development, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday "strongly" recommended to the union government to allow Bhullar's close relatives to meet him.

The NHRC recommendation came after a delegation and Bhullar's wife Navneet Kaur met commission chairperson justice KG Balakrishnan (retd) and other members regarding the execution.

"The commission has strongly recommended that close relatives of the prisoner be given an opportunity to meet him. The commission's recommendations have been sent to the union home ministry," NHRC said.

On April 7, the CJI had said that the family of Afzal Guru - the 2001 Parliament attack convict who was executed on February 9 - should have been informed about his hanging before it took place.

Sources also said the NHRC recommendation came against the backdrop of complaints that Guru was executed without allowing his family members to meet him for the last time.

Bhullar, whose plea for commutation of death sentence to life term was rejected by the Supreme Court, is presently under treatment for depression at the Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences (IHBAS) here.


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