Prez Kovind’s rejection of Mukesh Singh’s mercy petition in 4 days is a record
President Ram Nath Kovind’s order to reject Mukesh Singh’s mercy petition filed just four days earlier stands out for the speed at which the government has acted on the clemency plea by one of the four men convicted for gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in national capital Delhi.
Mukesh Singh, who was originally ordered to be hanged on January 22 along with three others, before Delhi Judge Satish Kumar Arora issued a fresh black warrant on Friday to execute the four men at 6 am on February 1, had sent across the mercy petition on Tuesday, hours after the Supreme Court dismissed his curative petition against the death sentence verdict.
Mukesh Singh, who has been ordered to be hanged on January 22 along with three others, had sent across the mercy petition on Tuesday, hours after the Supreme Court dismissed his curative petition against the death sentence verdict.
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Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced his government’s rejection of the clemency plea by Wednesday afternoon. In the next 24 hours, it reached Home Minister Amit Shah’s table who signed off on the state’s recommendation. By Thursday evening, the petition had reached Rashtrapati Bhavan. President Kovind’s order was conveyed to the Home Ministry by Friday morning.
Officials who had handled mercy petitions in earlier roles indicate that the decision within four days was a record.
The previous record of 42 days in the last 40 years was on a request for presidential pardon filed by a Rajasthan farmer Ram Chander in 1996.
Ajmal Kasab’s 2012 mercy plea that the 25-year-old had filed in September, months before his execution came a close second. It was decided in 54 days.
Kasab, who had sailed into Mumbai with nine more terrorists from Pakistan, had been sentenced to death for killing 166 people during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008. He was convicted in May 2010 and after his appeals were rejected, executed on 21 November 2012.
According to the Home Ministry, there are broad guidelines on the aspects that are taken into consideration when deciding a mercy plea.
Personality of the accused (such as age, sex or mental deficiency) or the circumstances of the case (such as provocation or other similar justification).
Cases in which the Appellate court has expressed its doubt as to the reliability of the evidence and has nevertheless decided on conviction.
Cases where it is alleged that fresh evidence is obtainable mainly with a view to seeing whether fresh enquiry is justified.
Where the High Court has reversed on appeal an acquittal by a Session Judge or has on appeal enhanced the sentence.
Difference of opinion in a Bench of two Judges necessitating reference to the third Judge of the High Court.
Consideration of evidence in fixation of responsibility in gang murder cases.
Long delays in the investigations and trial etc.