The Centre today filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against its verdict that said death sentence can be commuted over delay in deciding mercy petition.
The top court had, in January, commuted the sentences of 15 death row convicts, ruling that delays in their execution were grounds to change their sentences to life imprisonment.
"Inordinate and unreasonable delay attribute to torture. Whether the convict is a terrorist or an ordinary criminal, delay is a ground for commutation of death sentence," the court said in its ruling, which accepted that prolonged imprisonment of a convict awaiting execution amounts to cruelty and violates the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The verdict was based on an appeal by four members of the gang led by notorious sandalwood smuggler Veerappan.
Last month, the court commuted the death sentence of three men convicted of killing former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi to life in prison, rejecting the government's view that an 11-year delay in deciding their mercy petition was not agony for them.

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