Asia

Why no time limit for MHA recommendation to Prez on mercy pleas, asks SC

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre why a time period should not be prescribed for Union ministry of home affairs to send its recommendations on a mercy petition to the President for taking appropriate decision on the fate of a condemned convict.
A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy told solicitor general Tushar Mehta to respond to a PIL filed by advocate Shiv Kumar Tripathi, who pleaded for framing of a statutory rule or guideline for time-bound disposal of mercy petitions. The PIL questioned long pendency of such pleas before the MHA as also the President.
Petitioner's counsel Kamal Mohan Gupta told the bench that though both US and UK have framed guidelines for deciding mercy petitions, India has not yet framed "any written procedure or guidelines for disposing mercy petitions in a time bound manner. Absence of rules, regulation and guidelines is leading to arbitrariness and delay in disposal of mercy petitions".
The bench said it cannot direct President on speedy disposal mercy petitions. "We can consider directing ministry of home affairs on prescribing a time limit for placing mercy petitions along with government's recommendations before the President". It asked Mehta to file the government's response within four weeks on this narrow issue.
The petitioner said, "In quite a few cases, there had been prolonged delay in disposal of mercy petitions, which allowed the condemned convicts to get their death sentences commuted to life, which made the victims' families and society at large feel cheated." He said that there is an informal 7-point guideline based on which the MHA sends the case summary and its recommendation to the President for a decision accepting or rejecting mercy petitions.
"So it is the MHA which plays a crucial role in President taking a decision on mercy pleas. But, the MHA has never attempted to frame a statutory procedure or guideline for the pRead More – Source