Supreme Court defers execution of death row inmate, allows his psychological assessment

The Supreme Court recently stayed the execution of a death row inmate and granted permission for a representative of Project 39A of National Law University Delhi to visit the convict held in Pune’s Yerwada Prison for his psychiatric and psychological evaluation.

A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Judge Hima Kohli and Judge JB Pardiwala allowed the criminal miscellaneous petition filed by Project 39A, which is set up under the auspices of National Law University Delhi to provide pro bono legal representation especially to death row inmates.
The petition asked for directions to allow Ms. Nuriya Ansari of Project 39A to physically visit convict Ramkirat Munnilal Goud at Yerwada Central Prison and conduct multiple face-to-face interviews with the aim of gathering information and recording the interviews for the purpose relevant to the sentencing. Ms. Ansari works at Project 39A as a mitigation researcher and has a master’s degree in applied psychology.

Permission was sought to keep the interviews thus conducted confidential and to allow Ms Ansari to obtain any documents or other written materials relating to the applicant and to direct the defendants to set up videoconferencing facilities for the applicant to communicate with the legal representatives. to speak.

The Supreme Court granted leave in the petition for special leave and asked for the original files in this case. Given the judgment in Manoj vs state of Madhya Pradesh where guidelines were issued for psychological examination of the death row inmate, the court issued the following directions:

1. “The Respondent State shall submit to this Court within eight weeks the reports of all Probation Officers relating to the Applicant.

2. The Superintendent of Yerwada Central Prison shall within a period of eight weeks

3. The Chief of the General Hospital of Sassoon, Pune, will assemble an appropriate team to carry out a psychological evaluation of the applicant. The report of the evaluation shall be submitted to this court within eight weeks through the Permanent Counsel of the State of Maharashtra.

4. Ms. Nuriya Ansari is allowed to access the applicant currently housed in Yerwada Central Prison, Pune to submit her report regarding the psychological assessment of the applicant.”

Gold had filed a request to challenge the conviction and verdict in the highest court. Gold was accused of raping and murdering a 3-year-old girl. The Court of First Instance convicted Gold under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the POCSO Act and awarded him the death penalty in 2019. The death penalty was subsequently upheld by the Bombay High Court in 2021.

Case Title: RAMKIRAT MUNILAL GOLD vs THE STATE OF MAHARASHTRA – SLP (Crl) Nr. – 5928-5929/2022

Click here to read/download the order

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