'Provision for 3 month deadline to decide on mercy petition needed'



New Delhi: Amid demands for early execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, the special public prosecutor in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack case has made a strong pitch for a three-month deadline for the President to decide on any mercy petition.

"A provision should be made in law that if the President does not give his decision on a mercy petition, it would stand automatically rejected," Ujjwal Nikam said at a function of 'vanita samaj', a social organisation of Marathi women in the capital.

The samaj is celebrating its diamond jubilee this year.

"With the polity throwing up fractured verdicts often and the scene becoming more diverse by the day, an early decision on such issues is not possible due to pulls and pressures," he said.

He favoured keeping TV news channels away for an efficient security operation from places of terror attacks. TV coverage of such operations create obstacles, he said.

Nikam was also critical of a retired CBI Director's complaint that he was pressurised by government on certain cases. "If that was the case, why did not he quit as director that time itself," he quipped.

Recently, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had said he will see files pertaining to mercy petitions Afzal Guru and six others in death row after the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament. "It is not only (that of) Afzal Guru. I have seven files (of mercy pleas) to see. I will see the files after Parliament Session," Shinde had said.

The Winter Session of the Parliament will conclude on December 20. Guru's mercy petition was sent back by President Pranab Mukherjee to the Union Home Ministry for review. He was sentenced to death for the 2001 Parliament attack in which nine people, including security force personnel, were killed and 16 were injured.

PTI