Prez disposed of 15 mercy pleas after Afzal's appeal

Prez disposed of 15 mercy pleas after Afzal's appeal

The President has disposed of 15 mercy petitions of death row convicts since the Parliament attack case convict Mohd Afzal forwarded his plea seeking clemency in 2006.

The mercy plea of Afzal is still pending with the President’s Secretariat among the 18 such pleas concerning the fate of 26 death row convicts, according to the latest list released by the Centre under the RTI Act.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has revealed that as many as 90 mercy petitions have so far been disposed of since 1981.

Since 2006, when Afzal filed his mercy petition, the minimum time, the President’s secretariat took in deciding a plea was just five months. The death sentence of Kheeraj Ram of Rajasthan was commuted to life imprisonment on September 27, 2006. He had sent his application on May 1 then.

Among the 26 people whose fate hanged in balance was one Gurmeet Singh. He still awaited the final word on the capital punishment even though 25 years have elapsed since he was held responsible for the death of 13 persons of a family in Uttar Pradesh.
Of the total 18 pending mercy petitions filed by those awarded death penalty, two were under the examination of the MHA.

Notably, the list of pending mercy petitions as disclosed by the MHA on July 13, last year, pointed out the case of Parliament attack case convict Mohd Afzal, which is “still under examination in this ministry”.

In August last year, the MHA sent the matter to the President after rejecting the mercy request of Afzal.

Since 1981, as many as 70 mercy petitions have so far been rejected while 20 have been commuted to life imprisonment.   In the pending matters was also the case of notorious forest brigand Veerappan’s four aides Simon, Ganaprakash, Madaiah and Bilavendra of Karnataka, who got the capital punishment for killing 22 police personnel by triggering a land mine blast on April 9, 1993.

Their case was first submitted to the President’s Secretariat in 2005. It was called for review in May last year and again sent back within 10 days on May 25.

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