New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil has
commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence given to
eight murder convicts in two separate cases.
During the last three decades, the Presidents had
commuted the sentence in only 10 cases out of the 77 petitions
decided by them.
Patil gave her order on June 15 on mercy petitions
submitted by Shyam Manohar and five others, who were on death
row since October 1997 for killing five persons including a
10-year old boy, and Dharmendra Kumar and Narendra Yadav, who
were convicted of murdering five members of a family.
After the decision on these two mercy petitions, 21 such
pleas are still pending with the President`s Secretariat while
three are with Home Ministry, according to the information
provided by the President`s Secretariat to S C Agrawal on his
Right to Information application.
So far, President Pratibha Patil has decided on three
petitions and in all of them the sentence was commuted to
The last mercy was granted by Patil on November 23,
2009 when she commuted death sentence awarded to R Govindasamy
of Tamil Nadu to life imprisonment.
In the latest cases, Shyam Manohar along with Sheo Ram,
Prakash, Suresh, Ravinder and Harish had filed a mercy
petition before the President soon after the verdict of the
Supreme Court in 1997 which upheld the death penalty awarded
to them by the High Court.
The file was re-submitted to President`s Secretariat on
February 23, 2010.
Dharmendra Kumar and Narendra Yadav of Uttar Pradesh had
filed the mercy petition in 1999 and it was re-submitted to
President`s Secretariat on March 2010.
The broad guidelines generally considered while examining
grant of mercy under Article 72 of the Constitution relate to
age, sex or mental state of the accused, circumstances of the
case, conduct of the offender and medical abnormality falling
short of legal insanity.
After examination, the case is submitted to the
President`s Secretariat for a final decision with the due
recommendation of the Union Home Minister.
There is no time limit given under the Article for the
President to take decision on a mercy plea.
If the appeal is rejected under the Article 72, the
decision of the President is communicated to the concerned
state governments and Union Territories, which decide the date
of execution in the matter under the existing rules.