The government had concealed former President APJ Kalam’s advice in 2005 to the ministry of home affairs (MHA) to accept MN Das’s mercy plea when it re-send his file in 2010 to the then President Pratibha Singh Patil advising her to reject his clemency petition.
Accepting Das’s contention to commute his death sentence to life on the ground there was an inordinate delay in deciding his mercy plea, a bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi held MHA had not properly advised Patil as she was kept in dark about the view expressed by her predecessor.
She, the bench held, was deprived of an opportunity to objectively consider the entire matter.
The SC had on Wednesday accepted Das’s appeal that he should be saved from the gallows as the President took 11 years to decide his clemency plea.
Government’s inability to explain the five year delay it took in re-sending Das’s file after Kalam’s advice also went in his favour.
The government even failed to explain why it took three years to make its first recommendation on Das’s mercy plea to the President.
Das was sentenced to death by a Guwahati court in 1997 for double murder – once in 1995 and the other in 1996 when he was on bail. The SC confirmed it in 1999.