SC`s fiat to Centre on death convicts` mercy pleas
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Last Updated: Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 20:47
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to furnish details of the number of mercy petitions disposed off by the President in 2011, besides other petitions pending with the government for the past several years.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhyaya passed a written order to the effect after perusing minutely certain confidential files relating to the mercy pleas placed before it by Additional Solicitor General Harin Rawal.

The apex court had on April 3 directed the Centre to furnish details of 18 mercy pleas, including that of Parliament attack death convict Afzal Guru pending before the President for 7 years.

The court passed the directions while dealing with the appeal filed by death convict Sikh militant Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, challenging the undue delay in disposal of his mercy petition by the President.

But during today's hearing, the Centre could place only certain details which were examined by the bench in the court.

Assisting the court as amicus curiae, senior counsel T R Andhiarujina said "it is inhuman" to keep the death convicts under prolonged incarceration by delaying a decision on the mercy petition whatever may be the nature of their crime.

"There is a need for laying down a certain time frame for deciding on such mercy petitions," he said.

The court agreed with the view of the amicus that many death row convicts apparently do not want to risk their case by coming to the court lest their mercy applications are decided immediately by the government.

The bench cited the instance of the mercy petition of Bhullar being rejected within days of his family filing a petition in the Supreme Court.

The arguments would continue tomorrow.


First Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 20:47

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