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Report No. 262

(i) Chronic Mental Illness Ignored:

The Case of Sunder Singh's Writ [Writ Petition (Crl.) No. 192/2013] was considered in the batch matter Shatrughan Chauhan v. Union of India, (2014) 3 SCC 1. See paras 79-87 for discussion on law, and paras 178-195 for the outcome in Writ Petition (Crl.) No. 192/2013.

6.6.3 Sunder Singh was sentenced to death for having burnt five of his relatives alive. His mercy petition was dismissed by the Governor on 21.1.2011, and then by the President on 31.3.2013, even though he had stated in his mercy petition that he had committed the offences under the influence of mental illness. This claim was corroborated by the jail records, which showed that due to his abnormal behavior he had been presented before numerous medical boards consisting of government psychiatrists who had opined that he was suffering from chronic schizophrenia and required long term treatment.

This information had been periodically communicated to the State Government and the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, who nevertheless chose to reject his mercy petitions. He was eventually found to be "not mentally fit to be awarded the death penalty" Shatrughan Chauhan v. Union of India, (2014) 3 SCC 1, at para 190, by a team of psychiatrists appointed by the State Government and his death sentence was commuted by the Supreme Court.



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