'16 cases of mercy petition disposed of in 3 yrs'
New Delhi: 16 mercy petitions have been disposed of during the last three-and-a-half years, which is more than any such period earlier, the Rajya Sabha was informed Wednesday.
"This government and the current Rashtrapatiji has disposed of more mercy petitions in three-and-a-half years than any period before," Home Minister P Chidambaram said during Question Hour.
Noting that 16 mercy petitions, out of the cases submitted to President Pratibha Patil, have been disposed of, he said, "I cannot comment on decisions of the President."
Chidambaram said there were two views on death sentence with a large number of countries abolishing capital punishment and an equally large number continuing to have death sentence for specified crimes.
Law in India provides for death sentence in rarest of rare cases and Law Commissions have not favoured abolition of capital punishment, he said, adding the government has not taken any view on capital punishment that is different from what the law states.
"At the moment we are not engaged in review (of capital punishment). But time will come when we will have to take a review," he said, pointing out that death sentence can be commuted by Constitutional authorities.
Chidambaram said the Supreme Court has interpreted provision of Section 433-A of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, to state that prisoners undergoing life imprisonment become eligible to be considered for pre-mature release after they serve 14 years of actual imprisonment without including the period of remissions given to a convict for good conduct.