Guwahati: Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) has welcomed the Supreme Court`s order on Wednesday commuting death sentence of Mahendra Nath Das to life imprisonment.
``The judgement of the Supreme Court is a step in the right direction for eventual abolition of death penalty in the country. It recognizes that life imprisonment remains an equally efficacious form of justice and death penalty is not the only form of justice``, ACHR Director Suhas Chakma said.
Das had been on death row for the last 16 years and the long delay in deciding the mercy plea has been considered as a ground for commuting the death sentence.
Considering that then President APJ Abdul Kalam in a communication on September 30, 2005 advised the Home Minister, to consider extending the benefit of clemency to Mahendra Nath Das, there was no ground to recall the file for reconsideration in the first place, and then reject the mercy plea by then President Pratibha Patil, Chakma said.
ACHR has urged the centre to commute all death penalty sentences to life imprisonment including that of Devender Pal Singh Bhullar and declare a moratorium on death penalty.
The ACHR has submitted a fresh mercy plea to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking commutation of death sentence of condemned prisoner Devender Singh Bhullar to life imprisonment on the ground that Das`s mercy plea was considered twice by the President and therefore, Bhullar`s mercy plea too be considered afresh.