SC Commutes Death Sentences of 15 Convicts to Life Imprisonment

Shatrughan Chauhan & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors., (2014) 3 SCC 1 In this case, the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of 15 prisoners on death row to life imprisonment. The Supreme Court acknowledged the “unbearable mental agony after confirmation of death sentence” and added that in some cases “death-row prisoners lost their mental balance on account of prolonged anxiety and suffering experienced on death row”. The Bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam framed guidelines on disposal of mercy petitions, availability of legal aid, and execution of death sentence, ruling that convicts given death sentence must be informed about it at least 14 days prior and should be given a chance to meet their family members before they are executed.