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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

SC may review Prez pardon to 5 rapists on death row

Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 18, 2013
First Published: 23:37 IST(18/11/2013) | Last Updated: 01:10 IST(19/11/2013)

The Supreme Court has agreed to examine whether to review the President’s decision of commuting the death sentence of five accused in various child rape cases to life imprisonment.

 A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam issued notice to the Centre and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on a public interest litigation (PIL) that wants the top court to re-institute death penalty to the five convicts, saying they were a menace to the society.

 In her PIL, Mumbai-based journalist Pinki Virani has questioned former President Pratibha Patil’s decision to save the “brutal” men from the gallows on the ground that their release on parole even for a few days would be a threat to the society. During her term as the President, Patil had commuted 35 cases.

 “I am really grateful to the Supreme Court for issuing notice on the petition. These five cases are instances of gross brutality. One of the victims is a minor boy, while another is a case where a man who was already facing trial for a rape case gangraped the daughter of assistance jailor of the jail where he was lodged. Such persons cannot be reformed,” Virani said after the hearing.

 Her PIL attempts to show the non-serious approach of authorities in deciding such issues. Virani has highlighted how the files were forwarded by the state governments in the cases and how MHA proposed pardon to the President without application of mind. She wants the court to define the parameters required to be assessed by the MHA and President while deciding a mercy plea.

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