Top Court To Consider "Victim-Centric" Rules In Death Penalty Cases

The current rules are skewed towards convicts and allows them to "play with the law and delay execution," the government had said in its Supreme Court petition earlier this month.

Top Court To Consider 'Victim-Centric' Rules In Death Penalty Cases

In its petition, the government asked for a modification in a past Supreme Court judgment.

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court will consider framing additional guidelines in death penalty cases to make them more "victim-centric" and "society-centric". The top court agreed to reassess the guidelines after the government asked the court for a change in procedures in death penalty cases to bring in a seven-day time limit for convicts to use their last available legal options before execution.

The current rules are skewed towards convicts and allows them to "play with the law and delay execution," the government had said in its petition earlier this month, amid anger over a delay in the Nirbhaya convicts' hanging.

In its petition, the government asked for a modification in a past Supreme Court judgment on the rights of death row convicts and said there should be a time limit for a curative petition - the last legal resort before death penalty - after the Supreme Court rejects all previous pleas.

The government also wants the court to direct that a death row convict can only file a mercy plea within seven days of receiving the death warrant. Also, state governments and jail officials should issue death warrants within seven days of the mercy plea being rejected, the petition says.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde today sought response from various stakeholders on whose petition the top court had laid down guidelines relating to the execution of death row convicts.

The four convicts - Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Singh and Pawan Gupta - sentenced to death in the 2012 Delhi gang-rape or the "Nirbhaya" case are to be hanged on tomorrow, February 1, according to court order.

Multiple petitions have been filed by the men in their attempts to stall their execution, the latest one being a plea by Pawan Gupta, in the Supreme Court.

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