GUWAHATI, June 7 � A Division Bench of the Gauhati High Court comprising Justice BK Sharma and Justice BP Katakey after hearing a Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 17/11 filed by Kusumbala Tarun Das, mother of Mahendra Nath Das, has stayed the execution of the death sentence of Mahendra who was convicted and sentenced to death by the Sessions Judge, Kamrup under Section 302 IPC on August 18, 1986. The death sentence was subsequently upheld by the High Court and the Supreme Court.
By a judgement and order dated August 18, 1986 the Sessions Judge, Kamrup convicted Mahendra Das and sentenced him to death in Session Case No. 114 (K)/96 u/s 302 IPC. Subsequently, the Gauhati High Court on February 3, 1998 confirmed the said death sentence. Thereafter, the case moved to the Supreme Court which on 14.5.99 upheld the death sentence.
Mahendra preferred mercy petition on 4.6.99 before the President of India and thereafter, on 14.10.05 and 18.12.06, representations were also filed before the President to pardon him. In the writ petition, it was also contended that after long 11 years, on May 27, 2011 the convict was informed that his mercy petition was rejected by the President of India.
AK Bhattacharjee, senior advocate argued before the court that there was an inordinate delay in deciding the mercy petition and the same compelled the convict to approach the High Court from prohibiting the execution of the death sentence and also alteration of the death sentence to life imprisonment as observed by the Supreme Court in various pronouncements.
During the course of argument, Advocate Bhattacharjee referred to the decision pronounced by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the case of Smt Triveniben versus State of Gujarat and others wherein the Supreme Court held that �as between funeral fire and mental worry, it is the latter which is more devastating, for, funeral fire burns only the dead body while the mental worry burns the living one. This mental torment may become acute when the judicial verdict is finally set against the accused. Earlier to it, there is every reason for him to hope for acquittal. That hope is extinguished after the final verdict. If, therefore, there is inordinate delay in execution, the condemned prisoner is entitled to come to the court requesting to examine whether it is just and fair to allow the sentence of death to be executed.�
The court after hearing the arguments of both the sides and also taking note of the pronouncement of the Supreme Court, issued notice upon the respondents making returnable by June 17 and in the interim, stayed the execution of death sentence of Mahendra Das. The court further directed the Central and State Governments to file their response in the matter and also to produce the record on the next date of hearing.
Niron Borah, advocate appeared for the Union of India while RK Bora, government advocate represented the State.