A medical board,constituted by the Delhi government to ascertain the condition of death row convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar,has come to the conclusion that he suffers from severe depression with psychotic symptoms and suicidal tendencies. The jail manual states that a death row convict has to be declared physically and mentally fit before execution.
The medical board was formed after the Supreme Court rejected Bhullars petition to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment.
Bhullar was awarded capital punishment in 2001 after being convicted in the 1993 Delhi bomb blast case. His wife Navneet Kaur,who has been waging a legal battle to get the sentence commuted,has repeatedly underlined that he is a psychiatric patient who has already suffered because of the delay in deciding his mercy petition.
Sources in the Home department told The Indian Express on Thursday that the report of the medical board had been forwarded to Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna for further action.
The medical board
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Bhullar suicidal,has psychiatric disorder,medical board concludes
found that he suffered from a psychiatric disorder with suicidal implications. They basically confirmed what he was being treated for at the Institute for Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) where Bhullar has been admitted since December 2010, a Home official said.
According to the jail manual,a death row convict has to be declared physically and mentally fit before the sentence is carried out.
The Tihar Jail manual clearly states that no sick person or someone suffering from a serious illness is to be hanged. It is up to the recommendation of the government. It has to take a decision based on the medical boards report, a Tihar Jail official said. He added that the decision to hang a convict declared sick would be the discretion of the government.
The legal position,a lawyer said,is that the court is concerned only about the state of mind of the accused at the time of offence and not thereafter.
Sources in the Home department said that in Bhullars case,President Pratibha Patil had rejected his mercy petition in 2011. In April this year,the Supreme Court rejected Bhullars appeal to commute his sentence to life imprisonment.
The medical report has been forwarded to higher authorities who will now take a final decision, the Home official said.
After the Supreme Court rejected Bhullars appeal,the Delhi government constituted a medical board to ascertain his present condition. After the court order,jail authorities had questioned Bhullars admission at IHBAS and had sought formation of a medical board that included members from other hospitals.
The three-member board comprised chairperson Dr S K Khandelwal of AIIMS,and a psychiatrist each from Maulana Azad Medical College and G B Pant Hospital.