New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) in its press release today stated that President Pranab Mukherjee has reduced the President’s Office to a rubber stamp of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) while rejecting mercy pleas of the death-row convicts as per the advice of the MHA. The President has yesterday rejected mercy pleas in five cases while commuting death sentence in two cases as advised by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
As per the RTI information provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Asian Centre for Human Rights on 28 March 2013, as on 28th March 2013, nine mercy petitions were pending before the President of India and these include death-row convicts Jafar Ali (Uttar Pradesh), Dharam Pal (Haryana) Praveen Kumar (Karnataka), Sonia and Sanjeev (Haryana), Sunder Singh (Uttarakhand), Shivu and Jadeswamy (Karnataka) and B A Umesh (Karnataka), Balwant Singh Rajoana (Chandigarh) and Manganlal (Madhya Pradesh).
“The case of life and death as per Article 72 of the Constitution must not be decided without objective criteria and therefore, the criteria for considering the mercy pleas must be developed to avoid arbitrariness in life and death matters. ” – stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.
As per the RTI information provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Asian Centre for Human Rights on 28 March 2013, since the Supreme Court laid down the rarest of rare case doctrine in the Bachan Singh Vs State of Punjab case, the Presidents of India had considered 112 mercy pleas since 1981 to 4 April 2013, out of which 83 mercy petitions or 74% of the mercy petitions were rejected while mercy pleas of only 31 death row-convicts were commuted to life imprisonment.
ACHR called upon the Government of India to abolish death penalty in India.[Ends]