The Apex Court bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said this as Attorney General GE Vahanvati told a court that the government has yet not taken the decision and sought some more time.

Accepting the plea by the Attorney General, the SC directed the listing of the matter on March 26.

Bhullar was convicted and awarded death penalty for triggering a bomb blast in New Delhi in September 1993, which killed nine persons and injured 25 others, including then Youth Congress president MS Bitta.

The Apex Court had on March 26, 2002 dismissed Bhullar's appeal against the death sentence awarded by a trial court in August 2001 and endorsed by the Delhi High Court in 2002.

He had filed a review petition, which was dismissed on December 17, 2002. Bhullar had then moved a curative petition, which too had been rejected by the Apex Court on March 12, 2003.

Bhullar had also filed a mercy petition before the President on January 14, 2003. The President, after a lapse of over eight years, dismissed his mercy plea on May 14, 2011. Citing his delay, he had again moved the Apex Court for commutation of the death sentence but his plea was rejected.

The Apex Court had on January 21 held that inordinate delay by the government in deciding mercy plea of death row convicts can be a ground for commuting their sentence. In a landmark judgement, the court had held that prolonging execution of death sentence has a ‘dehumanizing effect’ on condemned prisoners who have to face the ‘agony’ of waiting for years under the shadow of death during the pendency of their mercy plea.

JPN/Agencies

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