Chennai: A PIL has been filed before the Madras High Court seeking to prohibit the Centre from executing any convict on death row before disclosing to the general public, the prisoner concerned and his family about the rejection of the mercy petition by the President.
P Pugalenthi, Director of `Prisoners Rights Forum`, in his PIL cited a Supreme Court judgment and said every convict awaiting the gallows has a fundamental right to approach either the High Court or the Supreme Court after the rejection of the mercy petition with a plea that the death sentence should not be allowed to be carried out.
He said 20 mercy petitions preferred by various convicts were pending before the President and feared that those convicts would also be executed in secrecy, if their mercy petitions were rejected.
He said if the rejection was not made public, the convict would not be able to secure legal assistance.
The filing of the PIL comes against the backdrop of a controversy which broke out on February 10 over the purported communication from the Centre to the family of Afzal Guru about the decision to hang him on Saturday with the family alleging they had come to know about his hanging from TV channels.
Though Union Home Secretary R K Singh had said Guru`s family was sent a communication through speedpost, the family had claimed having not received any such communication.