Capital Punishment| Supreme Court allows Project 39A of NLU Delhi to conduct psychological evaluation of a death row convict to bring out mitigating factors  

Supreme Court: Adopting a humanitarian approach, the 3-judge Bench of Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat, and Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ., allowed Project 39- A of the National Law University, Delhi, to have access to the appellant, a death row convict to interview him and conduct a psychological analysis in order to bring out mitigating circumstances.  

The appellant had approached the Court against the order of confirmation of the death sentence awarded by the Madhya Pradesh High Court. The Court, while admitting the appeal had stayed the execution of the death sentence of the appellant.  

Referring to the recent decision in Manoj v. State of M.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 677, wherein the Court has mandated for the Trial Courts to collect psychiatric and psychological evaluation report of the accused before awarding the death sentence, the Court opined that if psychological evaluation of the appellant is made before the final submissions are advanced, it will go a long way in rendering assistance to the Court.   

Hence, the Court allowed the appellant’s counsel access to the appellant to bring mitigating circumstances on record if any. The Court expressed,  

“Since the appellant has been awarded death sentence, in our view, facets of the matter touching upon the character and behaviour of the appellant would be essential in order to have complete assessment in the matter.”  

In the backdrop of above, the Court issued the following directions:   

  1. State of M.P. to place reports of all the Probation Officer(s) relating to the accused.  
  2. Place a report of the Jail Administration about the nature of the work done by the appellant while in jail.  
  3. The Director, MGM Medical College, Indore, was directed to constitute a suitable team for psychological evaluation of the appellant.  
  4. The Jail Authorities, Central Jail, Indore, where the appellant is presently lodged, were directed to render complete co-operation in facilitating access to and due evaluation of the appellant in all respects.  
  5. Ms. Baljeet Kaur, who is associated with Project 39- A of the National Law University, Delhi, was allowed to have access to the appellant to submit an appropriate Report. 

The Registry was asked to immediately send due intimation to all the authorities concerned. The matter is placed on 15-09-2022 for final disposal.  

[Karan v. State of M.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 732, decided on 20-05-2022]


Appearance by: 

For Appellant(s): Ms. Shivani Misra, Adv. Mr. Rajat Mittal, AOR  

For Respondent(s): Mr. P.V. Yogeswaran, AAG Mr. Yashraj Bundela, Adv. Mr. Sunny Choudhary, AOR Mr. Gaurav Choudhary, Adv. 


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together

 

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