Shatrughan Chauhan & Anr. vs Union of India & Ors.

Petitioner: Shatrughan Chauhan & Anr
Respondent: Union of India & Ors
Decided on: 21st  January,2014
Bench: Justice Shiva Kirti Singh, Justice P. Sathasivam,Justice Ranjan Gogoi
Citation: 2014, 3 SCC 1 (writ petition no. 55 of 2013)
Court: Supreme Court of India


The writ petition was documented under Art 32 of the constitution by the relatives of two demise convicts Suresh and Ram Ji. They were indicted for capital punishment under segment 302 of Indian Penal Code. Their capital punishment were affirmed by the Allahabad High Court and Supreme Court. At that point, they documented mercy petitions routed to the governor and president. These mercy petitions were dismissed by the governor and president. The applicants were not educated regarding this dismissal by the specialists and there happened to be exorbitant deferral of 12 years that is a long time in considering and choosing the mercy petitions.

At that point, this writ petition was recorded by the family members of the convicts with a supplication to pronounce the execution of capital punishment after the dismissal of mercy petition as unlawful and to drive capital punishment. The court considered the realities and saw that undue and unreasonable deferral of 12 long years in execution of capital punishment does unquestionably credit to torment which without a doubt is infringement of article 21 and in this way involves as the ground for substitution of sentence. The court at that point drove capital punishment of Suresh and Ram Ji into detainment of life and furthermore offered bearings to be followed in execution of capital punishment.

Facts of Case

  • Mr. Shatrughan Chauhan and Mr. Mahinder Chauhan, relatives of death convicts,  Suresh and Ram Ji have documented writ petition (no. 55 of 2013).
  • On 19.12.1997, the applicants were indicted under section 302 IPC for the homicide of five relatives of the principal candidate’s sibling for which they were granted capital punishment. On 23-03-2002 the Allahabad High Court affirmed their conviction and capital punishment and along these lines supreme court excused their criminal appeal being vide judgment dated 02-03-2001. On 09-03-2001 and 29-04-2001, the first and the subsequent solicitors thus documented leniency petitions individually routed to the governor and President of India.
  • On 09-03-2001 and 29-04-2001, the first and the subsequent solicitors thus documented benevolence petitions individually routed to the governor and president. The supreme court excused the review petition which was documented on 30-03-2001. The governor dismissed the benevolence request in the wake of taking nine months’ time. On 22-01-2002, state of Uttar Pradesh educated Government of India that the governor shows dismissed the candidates kindness appeal. Neither the solicitor nor their family members were educated about the dismissal.
  • On 04-05-2001, state of UP kept in touch with the government advocate of Varanasi requesting a duplicate of the preliminary court judgment. The district magistrate, Varanasi educated that it is beyond the realm of imagination to expect to get a duplicate of the preliminary court judgment as all the papers are lying in supreme court. Additionally there were extreme postponement in sending the decisions of the preliminary court to the government and a year delay in sending data about the status of applicants’ benevolence appeal to state of U.P. There was deferral of almost three years in outfitting data about the pending leniency petitions when the equivalent was looked for by prison specialists of the U.P. prison.
  • On 08-02-2013, the president dismissed the leniency petitions. The applicants had not gotten any composed correspondence about this till the date and came to think about it just through news reports. Accordingly there is an absolute deferral of 12 years and 2 months since documenting of leniency solicitors till advising the applicants about the dismissal by the president.
  • Subsequently this writ request was documented with a supplication to give a writ of announcement proclaiming that execution of sentence of death as per the dismissal of the leniency petitions by president is illegal and to put aside capital punishment forced upon them by driving the equivalent to detainment forever.

Issues Raised

  • Regardless if the postponement in execution would add up to infringement of right to life under article 21.
  • Regardless if the postponement in execution alone would be adequate ground for compensation of capital punishment.

Petitioner’s Argument

  • The exercise of the protected force vested in the official under Art 72/161 has abused the essential privileges of the solicitors.
  • The criticized official requests against the candidates were passed without thinking about the happening occasions (delay) which are pivotal for choosing the equivalent.
  • An over the top deferral in execution of capital punishment would encroach the privilege to life under article 21 and would qualifies the convict for approach Court under article 32 of constitution. The human life is hallowed and each exertion ought to be made to secure it.
  • In a request documented under article 32 even without presidential order, if there is unexplained deferral in execution of capital punishment the complaint of the convict can be considered by court.

Respondent’s Argument

  • The supposed postponement in outfitting the significant archives for thought of the mercy petition by president happened in light of the fact that these subtleties are accumulated from the prison specialists and takes a great deal of time and includes extended correspondence with the jail specialists and state government.
  • These records are then broadly inspected and upsides and downsides are weighed to show up at a choice and this procedure would require some investment.
  • The time taken in assessment of benevolence petitions may rely on the idea of the case, the extent of request to be made and the quantity of kindness petitions submitted in the interest of the charged. What’s more, there can’t be a particular time limit for assessment of benevolence petitions.
  • The article 72 anticipates no time limit for removal of mercy petition and along these lines no such time breaking point can be endorsed.
  • The  capacity under article 72 is optional and can’t be removed, changed, altered or meddled with by any legal arrangement or authority.
  • The postponement in itself does not involve a person under death sentence to demand for substitution. 
  • The capital punishment is forced on an individual saw as liable of offense of appalling nature in the wake of following the due system which is liable to offer and survey in this manner delay in execution must not be a ground for replacement of sentence of such a horrifying wrongdoing.
  • The recompense of capital punishment whenever made exclusively based on postponement would be against the casualty’s advantage.


The Court saw that mercy statute is a piece of advancing standard of conventionality, which is the sign of the general public and that requital has no established an incentive in our biggest vote based nation. Indeed, even a blamed has an accepted security under constitution and it is the court’s obligation to shield and ensure the equivalent. The court was of relevant view that undue, over the top and irrational deferral in execution of capital punishment does unquestionably credit to torment which in fact is infringement of article 21 and consequently involves as the ground for compensation of sentence.

At last, the court held that without legitimate, conceivable and adequate explanations behind the deferral, the postponement of twelve years in considering the kindness request is a pertinent ground for the compensation of capital punishment into life detainment. Appropriately, both the demise convicts Suresh and Ram Ji have presented out a defense for compensation of their capital punishment into life detainment.

The court additionally gave rules for viable overseeing of the technique of recording kindness petitions and for the reason for the passing convicts. They are as per the following:

  • The singular control preceding the dismissal of the kindness request by the president is illegal and ought not be embraced.
  • Much after dismissal of the benevolence appeal by the president, the convict can move toward writ court for recompense of capital punishment or challenge the dismissal of the kindness request and legitimate guide ought to be given to the convict at all stages.
  • At this point, when a kindness request is gotten or imparted by the state government after the dismissal by the Governor, fundamental materials, for example, police records, judgment of the preliminary court, the HC and the SC and all other associated reports ought to be called without a moment’s delay fixing a period limit for the experts for sending the equivalent to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The dismissal of mercy petition by governor or president ought to forthwith be imparted to the convict and his family recorded as a hard copy.
  • The passing convicts are qualified as a privilege for get a duplicate of the dismissal of the leniency request by the president and governor.
  • It is important that the actual base time of 14 days be specified between the correspondence of the dismissal of the mercy petition and the booked date of execution.
  • There ought to be standard emotional wellness assessment of all death row convicts and fitting clinical consideration ought to be given to those out of luck.
  • The duplicates of important archives ought to be outfitted to the detainee inside seven days by the jail specialists to help with making benevolence appeal and requesting of the courts.
  • The prison specialists ought to encourage and permit a last gathering between the detainee and his loved ones before his execution.
  • The necessary post mortem to be led on death convicts after the execution.

Critical Analysis

Inspite of the fact that the replacement of capital punishment of the solicitors is an adept choice since they have experienced a postponement of 12 years, this judgment can set out awful point of reference for future cases. The compensation of sentence just dependent on postpone will make a confounded legitimate circumstance. The facts confirm that the force under article 72/161 is the optional intensity of president and governor, the equivalent can’t be managed by any legal force or authority. It maybe to leave the equivalent uncontrolled may offer ascent to issues.

Hence by leaving the force obvious we can make it sketchy on how these forces are worked out. The judiciary can absolutely demand the ministry to adhere to its own standards which can diminish to an enormous expand the deferral caused. This will assist everyone with guaranteeing that the passing convicts benefit every one of their privileges till the last moment of execution.


While the judgment has done what it was relied upon to do, which is to give a legitimate and protected reason for implanting reasonableness into the system and procedure identifying with execution of capital punishment, it is not yet clear what the legislature can do towards creating a genuine discussion on capital punishment considering this judgment. It is in fact qualified to consider the way that one of the ways by which nations can react to the requirement for more prominent responsibility during the time spent both the burden and execution of capital punishment is to have prohibition for a fixed time frame.

During this prohibition, an efficient examination of capital punishment as a type of discipline might be embraced with the vital observational proof on its suggestions for wrongdoing anticipation, prevention just as distinct targets that are sought to be after for holding the death penalty on the law books.

The forecasts are well seen for India is that there have been a couple of state governments, which have passed authoritative assembly goals against the burden of capital punishment comparable to a couple of people. While this by itself may not be adequate for surveying the political will to nullify capital punishment as it gives a premise to searching a prohibition on completing executions for a while.


Edited By- Ankita

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