The Bench had reserved its verdict on April 19 in 2012 on a petition filed by family members of Bhullar, the Khalistan Liberation Force terrorist who was awarded capital punishment for his role in the bomb attack on former Youth Congress president M S Bitta in 1993. 9 policemen were killed while 25, including Bitta, were injured.
Bhullar's mercy petition was pending for 8 years. Bhullar had filed his original mercy plea to commute the sentence to life imprisonment in 2003 saying that he had already served jail term of 20 years. However, his mercy plea was rejected in 2011. The mercy plea also had claimed that Bhullar have lost mental equilibrium during an agonising 11-year wait.
A bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya had heard the arguments of the three petitions - one by Bhullar, second by his wife Navneet Kaur and another by NGO 'Justice on Trial Trust', in details.
Bhullar's counsel said the fear of execution at any moment for such a long period took a toll on Bhullar's mind and made the case fit for commutation of the capital sentence into life term. The latest move of the Supreme Court would impact other cases regarding death row such as Rajiv Gandhi assassination convicts.