The Centre has decided to consider the mercy petitions of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and 27 other prisoners on death row and take a decision whether to accept or reject them, Home Minister P Chidambaram said in New Delhi on Monday.
Chidambaram indicated that Afzal's petition would be taken up after similar pleas by 21 others who are listed in sequence before him.
He was answering queries from reporters whether the Centre has worked out any policy for expediting consideration of the mercy petitions of prisoners sentenced to death.
"There are 28 cases on death row. I have asked the Home Secretary to take up those cases in order in which they appear on that list and to ensure that a decision is taken whether the mercy petition should be accepted or rejected. We will advise the President accordingly," Chidambaram said.
"The Home Secretary will now take up the first case and follow it through and we will go down in that order," Chidambaram said, adding "...They (officers) will update me on each case one by one."
To a question when would the mercy petition of Afzal Guru be taken up, Chidambaram replied "he (Afzal) sits on serial number 22. This has been said many times and I want you to remember these two numbers--22 out of 28."