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Plea against 'selective executing' of death row convicts in SC

New Delhi, July 16 The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice on a plea seeking direction for guidelines ...
Plea against 'selective executing' of death row convicts in SC

New Delhi, July 16 The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice on a plea seeking direction for guidelines for disposal of mercy petitions and carrying out a death sentence in a time-bound manner, as access to justice is an uphill task for parents of the victims from lowest strata of the society.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices R. Subhash Reddy and A.S. Bopanna issued notice on the notice on the plea filed by advocate Subhash Vijayran. The petitioner contends that the Constitution mandates the state should provide equal treatment and arbitrarily executing some specific death row convicts while not bothering to execute others for decades is antithetical to Article 14 (right to life).

"If the courts of law and the government are unable to execute the death penalty in a fair and equitable manner, they should abolish it. But, if they are retaining the penalty, they are constitutionally bound to execute it in a fair and unbiased manner. They can't discriminate inter se the death row convicts, all of whom are similarly placed. Such discrimination would be arbitrary, unfair, and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution," said the petition.

Vijayran argued that convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder were dealt expeditiously, as the parents of the victim were able to acquire resources to reach out to the judicial system, but in another matter where victims were slum-dwellers and lacked resources, the death sentence of the convicts has been pending since 2014. The petitioner argued that the parents of the deceased children are poor slum-dwellers and lack means to pursue the case.

The plea cited delay in deciding petitions across high courts, especially focusing on the case of the two child-murderers, sisters 'Renuka and Seema', who have been convicted of murdering five children in a depraved manner.

"I am particularly focusing on the case of the two child-murderer sisters Renuka and Seema - convicted of kidnapping and murdering, in the most depraved manner, 5 helpless children - whose death sentences though confirmed by this court, the President & the Governor - is stayed since 2014, as the Bombay High Court is hearing their post-mercy rejection writ petition in the most lackadaisical manner, with a shocking gap of more than 5 years 7 months between two hearing dates at pre-admission stage. Reason: The parents of victims-children are poor slum-dwellers, who have neither the resources nor the reach to garner public support and to wake up our hibernating judicial system," said the plea.

( With inputs from IANS )

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