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The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court, seeking modification of the Shatrughan Chauhan judgment on last available legal option available to death row convicts. The plea seeks a time limit on the window of filing a curative petition after a review application is rejected at the apex court.

The Centre has asked the Supreme Court for “victim-centric” guidelines in death penalty cases and a time-limit for convicts using their last available legal options. The current rules are skewed towards the convicts and allowed them to “play with the law and delay execution,” Centre said in its petition amid anger over delay in the Nirbhaya convicts’ hanging.

The 2014 Shatrughan Chauhan verdict said, “It is necessary that a minimum period of 14 days be stipulated between the receipt of communication of the rejection of the mercy petition and the scheduled date of execution…”

Nirbhaya case: Reject death penalty review petition of accused, demands Delhi policeIncidentally, January 22 was the initial date set by the Patiala House Court for the execution of the death sentence of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya case. However, the court declared a new time for execution – 6 am on February 1 – after the mercy petition of one of the convicts got rejected by the President.

Also, the Delhi Prison Rules 2018 prescribes a notice period of 14 days to be given to the convicts between the date of rejection of mercy petition and date of execution of the death sentence.

— India Legal Bureau

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