Victim centric death penalty guidelines

The bench of chief justice SA Bobde, J. BR Gavai and J. Surya Kant agreed to hear centre plea for laying down victim-centric guidelines for the death penalty in the heinous crime. The centre claims that existing guidelines are only accused centric, it is also important to frame guidelines from the point of view of victims, family and society.

The centre is seeking modification of guidelines issued in Shatrughan Chauhan v. UOI (2014) which held that death row convicts have certain inalienable rights. The guidelines do not take into account mental trauma, agony, the upheaval of the victims and their families. The centre also urged to fix a time limit for filing curative and mercy petition.

The centre brought the application before SC in the light of pending executions of death warrant of 2012 Delhi gang rape-murder case convicts. The death warrant execution of convicts delayed due to filling of review, curative and mercy petition over a period of several months which is elongating the suffering of Nirbhaya parents and other family members.

The centre has sought a direction that after the rejection of mercy plea, the court within 7 days should issue death warrant to convict and to execute the convict within 7 days irrespective of the stage of review, curative or mercy petition of convicts after the death warrant is issued.