'Officials involved with Guru's mercy plea can't be named'



New Delhi: The Home Ministry has refused to disclose details of its officials who have given opinion on the mercy petition of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru, saying it involved national security.

A Mumbai-based RTI activist Vatsa Raj had sought details from the Ministry on the file movement in connection with the petition along with details of the officials and sections that dealt with it.

He also asked the Ministry to provide him copies of file notings by the officials, recommendations made by Delhi Government and other related details on the mercy plea.

The Ministry, in its reply, informed him that the information could not be disclosed as it involved "security and safety of the country".

"Further, recommendation of the Government on the mercy petition of a condemned prisoner is in the nature of advice by the council of ministers to the President which cannot be inquired into by any court of law under Article 74(2) of the Constitution of India," the reply said.

The Supreme Court had in 2005 upheld the verdict of the trial court which had awarded capital punishment to him for his role in the conspiracy behind the December 13, 2001, terror attack on Parliament.

The sentence was scheduled to have been executed on October 20, 2006, but it was stayed after his wife moved a mercy petition.

PTI