New Delhi, March 6: The Supreme Court Wednesday issued notice on a petition seeking to declare unconstitutional new rules that allow that review petitions in death sentence cases should be heard in judges’ chambers and not in open courts.
The petition by Sunder alias Sunderrajan, whose death sentence was upheld by the apex court Feb 5, contended that Order XL Rule II of the Supreme Court Rules, 1966 was violative of the fundamental rights under Article 14, 19 and 21 of the constitution, dealing with equality and life.
The rule provides that all review petitions will be disposed off by circulation without oral arguments in open court, unless court decides to hear the review petition in open court.
The apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar while issuing the notice to the central government, Tamil Nadu and to itself stayed the execution of the death sentence of Sunder alias Sunderrajan upheld by it.
The petition has sought direction to the central government to amend the Supreme Court Rules, 1966 in accordance with the recommendations of the 187th report of the Law Commission that said that all death penalty matters be heard by a bench of five judges or at least three judges.
The apex court Feb 5 upheld the death sentence of Sunder who kidnapped and killed a seven-year-old boy Suresh in Tamil Nadu for not getting a ransom of Rs.5 lakh.