The Centre is likely to go with the Delhi government’s opinion rejecting Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s mercy petition but hasn’t sent its recommendation to President Pratibha Patil.
Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna had sent the Delhi Government’s opinion to the home ministry on June 3 where he had recommended that the mercy plea be rejected.
The Home Ministry has not taken any view on file, a home ministry official said, denying reports that the government had conveyed its views to Rashtrapati Bhavan last week.
A Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson also said the President was yet to receive any recommendation from the government. “We haven’t received anything on Guru from the Home Ministry yet,” the spokesperson said.
But the Congress — when asked about the reported Home Ministry’s recommendation to reject the mercy plea — said: “We support the home ministry stand on the issue”. “We have always said law should take its course. Whatever procedure has been prescribed in the Constitution... should be followed,” Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram had decided to clear over two dozen mercy pleas pending for the presidential pardon. The Afzal plea was 22nd in this queue when Chidambaram took over on 1 December 2008. Only five cases ahead of Guru’s plea have been cleared so far.
“Given the nature of charges and the well-argued verdict by the SC... it is unlikely that the government will have any option but to reject the petition,” a government source said.