NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Saturday late evening stayed for four weeks the execution of 8 persons, including condemned woman prisoner Sonia, whose mercy pleas had been rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee.
A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and M Y Eqbal stayed the execution of the eight - Sonia and her husband Sanjeev, Gurmeet Singh, Praveen Kumar, Sunder Singh, Jafar Ali, Suresh and Ramji - on a petition filed by "People's Union for Democratic Rights", civil rights group.
In the late evening hearing at Justice Sathasivam's residence, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves gave the instance the stay of execution of four aides of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan granted by a bench of Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir on February 18.He cited the delay in carrying out the death sentence after the Supreme Court had confirmed them, as the main ground for staying the executions.
Gonsalves said the delay in all these cases ranged from 3 to 12 years. The apex court has already reserved judgment in the case of Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, who had cited a delay of 11 years in adjudicating his mercy plea by President as a ground for seeking commutation of death penalty to life imprisonment.
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During the hearing, the bench of Justices Sathasivam and Eqbal said it was also entertaining the petition on the additional ground to ascertain whether proper communication had been sent to the relatives of these condemned prisoners whose mercy pleas have been rejected.