New Delhi, Mar 3 (PTI) Despite his “poor health condition’ and “vegetative state”, some members of a board reviewing the sentence of Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar, a 1993 Delhi bomb blast case convict, are not in favour of his early release, arguing that the “dreaded terrorist” was behind the death of several people, sources said on Thursday.
However, Home Minister Satyendar Jain, who heads the seven-member Sentence Review Board (SRB), during a recent meeting had pointed out that the directions of the Centre to give special remission to Bhullar were binding on the Delhi government. The Board had on Wednesday deferred the decision on the early release of Bhullar, who is currently lodged in Amritsar jail.
It also decided to examine the legal position of the board regarding its call on a matter and whether the issue should be directly placed before Lt Governor Anil Baijal for a final decision, sources said.
During the SRB meeting, Jain had pointed out that the directions of the Centre to give special remission to Bhullar were binding on the Delhi government, they said.
“The direction for remission of Bhullar’s sentence were made by the Centre exercising its rights under article 161 of the Constitution, and therefore the Delhi government ought to release him,” the sources quoted Jain as saying during the meeting.
During the meeting, Bhullar’s health condition was also discussed by the members. He was in an “extremely bad” condition due to “acute mental illness” as certified by a Medical Board on February 5, 2014, and was “practically reduced to a vegetable, sources said.
Some SRB members, including Law and Home secretaries of the Delhi government and a joint commissioner of police, opposed Bhullar’s special remission and early release on the ground that he is a “dreaded terrorist” who caused the death of several people in the 1993 Delhi bomb blasts, sources said.
“It was also pointed out by a member that outfits like Sikh For Justice (SFJ) were trying to increase activities in Punjab and they may use Bhullar’s release to destabilise the peace in the state,” they claimed.
Due to different views on this matter, it was decided to examine the legal position of the SRB decision on a matter which the Centre has already decided upon, and whether or not this matter should directly be placed before the Lt Governor of Delhi for a final decision they said.
“Pending this clarification, the issue of Bhullar’s release from prison was deferred,” they said.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, in a letter to the Chief Secretary of Delhi on September 29, 2019, had informed about its decision to give special remission to eight Sikh prisoners facing life imprisonment, including Bhullar, on the occasion of commemoration of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, sources said.
“It had directed the Chief Secretary of Delhi to take all required actions for the release of Bhullar,” they said.
Bhullar was convicted in connection with the killing of nine people and injuring of 31 in a bomb blast in 1993 in Delhi. Among those who survived the attack is former Youth Congress chief M S Bitta.
Bhullar was sentenced to death by a designated TADA court on August 25, 2001.
He is undergoing life imprisonment after the Supreme Court commuted his death sentence.
He was shifted to Amritsar Central Jail from Delhi’s Tihar Jail on health grounds, in June 2015. PTI VIT AKM TDS TDS
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Source: The Print