President pardons two death convicts; no decision on Guru yet

Last Updated: Sunday, April 3, 2011 - 11:48

New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil has
pardoned two murder convicts from Maharashtra and Madhya
Pradesh and commuted their death sentence to life
imprisonment.

Mercy petitions of SB Pingale, on death row since
1997, and Jai Kumar, sentenced to death in 1999, were
considered by the President and their sentences were commuted
to imprisonment for life.

The mercy petitions of Afzal Guru, sentenced to
death in the Parliament attack case, and several others are
still pending.

Pingale was awarded death sentence in August 1997 by
the Pune Sessions Court for killing two persons related to his
estranged wife and being involved in two attempts to murder.
The Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court subsequently
confirmed the conviction.

Kumar, who hails from Madhya Pradesh, was awarded
death sentence by a trial court for killing his brother`s
wife and daughter. Later, the Madhya Pradesh High Court and
the apex court upheld the sentence.

While the Opposition parties have lashed out at the
"delay" in taking a decision on Guru`s petition, Home Minister
P Chidambaram said there was no fixed time for deciding the
mercy petitions.

Chidambaram has been adopting a policy of going serial
wise on deciding mercy petitions since taking over the charge
of the Home Ministry in 2008.

So far, 13 cases have been referred and decision
obtained in nine. The case of three persons sentenced to
death in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv
Gandhi and two other terrorist cases were higher in the order
than the Afzal Guru case.

Guru`s wife Tabasum Afzal petitioned the President on
October 3, 2006 for commutation of death sentence. The Delhi
government was asked its view.

The Delhi government`s comments were furnished by the
Lieutenant Governor of Delhi in June 2010 and they are under
examination of the Home Ministry for submission to the
President.

Under Article 72 of the Constitution, the President is
empowered to grant pardon and commute the death sentence of a
convict. She can also suspend and remit the death sentence of
a condemned prisoner, albeit with the advice of the Union
government.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, April 3, 2011 - 11:48

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