State of Punjab v. Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar was a significant legal case in India that dealt with the issue of the death penalty and the use of torture as evidence in criminal trials. The case arose in the 1990s, when Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar, a Sikh separatist, was arrested and charged with terrorism in connection with a bombing that took place in New Delhi in 1993. Bhullar was convicted and sentenced to death by a trial court, and his sentence was upheld on appeal.
The case was eventually appealed to the Supreme Court of India, which heard arguments on the constitutionality of the death penalty and the admissibility of evidence obtained through torture. Bhullar’s lawyers argued that the death penalty was a violation of the right to life and personal liberty, as guaranteed by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, and that the use of torture as evidence violated the prohibition on cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, as guaranteed by Article 21 and Article 14 of the Constitution.
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court upheld Bhullar’s death sentence, stating that the death penalty could be imposed in cases of “the rarest of the rare” crimes, such as terrorism. The court also ruled that evidence obtained through torture was inadmissible, stating that the use of torture as a means of obtaining evidence violated the principles of natural justice and was fundamentally inconsistent with the rule of law.
The State of Punjab v. Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar case was significant for a number of reasons. It marked the first time that the Supreme Court of India had ruled on the constitutionality of the death penalty, setting a precedent for future cases. The court’s ruling on the admissibility of evidence obtained through torture was also significant, as it affirmed the prohibition on the use of torture as a means of obtaining evidence and sent a strong message about the importance of upholding human rights and the rule of law.
Despite the significance of the State of Punjab v. Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar case, the use of the death penalty and torture as evidence in criminal trials continue to be controversial issues in India and around the world. The case highlights the complex and often difficult balancing act between security and human rights, and the importance of upholding the rule of law and the principles of natural justice in the criminal justice system.