Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ajmal Kasab's mercy plea will be processed fast: Shinde

NEW DELHI: With a presidential pardon the only option before Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Ajmal Kasab after the Supreme Court upheld his death sentence, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Wednesday said the government would ensure that the Pakistani's mercy plea, if it came, was processed in the minimum possible time. "If Ajmal Kasab files mercy plea, we will ensure that it is disposed of in minimum time," Shinde said when asked whether Kasab's execution would take time since he has the option of moving a mercy petition. The delay in disposing of mercy petitions of death row convicts has created unease within and outside the government. At present, 11 mercy petitions, including that of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, are pending with the President. Guru had filed his mercy plea in 2006. It took the government over five years to process his file before sending it to the President. Though the government gave its opinion rejecting Guru's mercy plea to the President over a year ago, it is still pending with the President's secretariat. It is the discretion of the President when to take a final call over the matter as the Constitution does not provide any time-limit to dispose it of. Home secretary R K Singh said Kasab has not yet filed any mercy petition. "We will see once he does," he said. Information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni appeared more straightforward on the issue. She said while it was Kasab's constitutional right to seek a presidential review, such clemency should not be shown. "This was an awaited judgment by Supreme Court. I think the judgment should be abided by... Personally, I think there should be no clemency for such cases," she said. Source: The times of India TNN | Aug 30, 2012, 03.05AM IST [accessed on 30th August 2012]

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