The Delhi government has decided to refer to the Union home ministry a decision on the execution of death row convict Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar following a medical board report that he is under severe mental depression.
The medical board, set up by Delhi government to examine his health, has in its report submitted to the Delhi government last month said that Bhullar was not mentally sound as he was suffering from severe depression.
A Tihar jail official said as per jail manual, a death row convict cannot be executed if he is not physically and mentally fit.
Bhullar has been admitted to the Institute for Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences for over two years and doctors treating him said he was suffering from depression and has suicidal tendencies.
Bhullar was given death penalty for triggering a bomb blast in New Delhi in September 1993 that killed nine people and injured 25 others, including then Youth Congress President M S Bitta.
Sources in the Delhi government said the report of the medical board was sent to Lt Governor Tejendra Khanna earlier this month following which he referred it to Tihar Director General Vimla Mehra.
"The medical board said Bhullar is not mentally fit. As per norms an unfit person cannot be hanged. It is a sensitive matter and we have decided to seek opinion of the home ministry," the sources said. They said Khanna was of the opinion that laid down norms must be followed in the case.
The sources said the medical board may again examine Bhullar after some months.
"We are closely monitoring him. He still has suicidal tendencies," a doctor attending to Bhullar said. In April, the Supreme Court had dismissed Bhullar's plea for commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment on ground of delay in deciding his mercy plea.
However, Bhullar's wife had on May 7 filed a review petition against the Supreme Court verdict of April 12. After the Supreme Court's dismissal of Bhullar's plea for commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment, Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal had approached Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the home minister to find a way out to stop Bhullar's execution on the ground of peace and harmony in the state.
Bhullar had filed a mercy petition before the President on January 14, 2003, which was dismissed on May 25, 2011.