The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked seven states to furnish "within 48 hours" details of mercy petitions filed by death row convicts pending with respective Governors, failing which it warned that home secretaries of the states concerned would have to appear before it.
A bench of justices GS Singhvi and SJ Mukhopadhyaya passed the direction after expressing dismay at the non-compliance of its earlier order in this regard which was brought to its notice by additional solicitor general Harin Raval.
The states which reportedly failed to comply with the order are Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and West Bengal.
The bench said it would like to examine the cases relating to all other death row convicts whose mercy petitions are pending with the President or Governors, though they have not approached the court for various reasons.
In a dig at the media, the apex court said "their cases are not highlighted by the media. The media highlights only those cases which are taken up by political organizations which get support from people outside the country".
The bench further said it would also like to examine the judicial accountability for the delay and disposal of cases relating to death row convicts at various levels, including the apex court.
The apex court had on April 3 directed the Centre to furnish details of 18 mercy pleas, including that of Parliament attack death convict Afzal Guru pending before the President for seven years.
The court passed the directions while dealing with the appeal filed by death row convict Sikh militant Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar, challenging the undue delay in disposal of his mercy petition by the President.