SC takes suo motu cognizance of death penalties

New Delhi, April 22 : The Supreme Court on Friday initiated a suo motu examination on awarding of death penalty by courts across India, indicating it would lay down guidelines for all courts across the country in the matter. A three-judge bench headed by Justice UU Lalit, initiating the suo motu cognizance case sought the assistance of Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal, who represents the Government, to ensure full information and evaluation of such cases. The apex court said it wanted to examine the larger issue of death penalty cases and institutionalise award of death penalties by courts across the country. The matter will be next heard on May 10. Issuing notice to the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), the bench also comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and PS Narasimha, said to deal with the issue the system needed to be institutionalised, and properly streamlined. Venugopal agreed with the court’s decision, as it hinted at laying down the guidelines after hearing a plea filed by one Irfan (Bhayu Mevati) challenging a death penalty handed to him by a trial court and upheld by the Madhya Pradesh High Court. SM ING

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