Monday, July 8, 2013

Nirbhaya effect: Govt favours death term for three

Himanshi Dhawan, TNN Jul 4, 2013, 05.01AM IST
NEW DELHI: It is the Nirbhaya effect on UPA-2. The government has recommended death penalty for three convicts found guilty of women-related crimes. While Madhya Pradesh resident Maganlal was found guilty of murdering his five daughters, Karnataka'sShivu and Jadeswamy were convicted of rape and murder. Both cases have been sent to the President for his assent by the home ministry. 
Shivu and Jadeswamy brutally raped and murdered an 18-year-old girl on October 15, 2001. The high court rejected the appeal and confirmed death penalty in November 2005. This was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 2007. Home ministry in April 2013 recommended rejection of the mercy petition following which two new mercy petitions were filed on Shivu's behalf. The petitions were filed by the condemned prisoner's mother Chellamma and by people and members of the Badrayyanahalli Kuratti Hosur gram panchayat. Subsequently, the case was sent to the President in June.
Madhya Pradesh's Maganlal murdered his five daughters on June 11, 2010 following which he was handed death sentence by the district court which was upheld by both the high court and the SC. The MP governor rejected the mercy petition in 2012 which was confirmed by the home ministry.
Both cases are now before President Pranab Mukherjee who is empowered by the Constitution to grant presidential pardon. Presidential pardon arises from Article 72 of the Constitution that empowers the President to pardon, grant reprieve or suspend, remit, commute sentence of person convicted of any offence. The President is guided by the home minister and the council of ministers.
The President has so far rejected nine mercy petitions sentencing 14 convicts including one woman to death since he took charge of Rashtrapati Bhavan in July 2012.
Among the first mercy petitions to be disposed of included 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab's. He was executed in November 2012 which was the first hanging after 2004 and marked a sharp departure in India's policy towards death penalty.
Mukherjee has since rejected the mercy petitions of Saibanna Ningappa Natikar on January 4, 2013 and Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on February 3. He commuted the death sentence for Atbir who was found guilty of murdering three relatives over a property dispute on November 15, 2012.
Between February and March 2013, Mukherjee rejected the mercy petitions of Veerappan aides Simon, Gnanaprakash, Madaiah and Bilavandran who killed 22 people by blasting a land mine, mass murderers including Suresh and Ramji, Gurmeet Singh and Jafar Ali. He also rejected the mercy plea of rapist-murderer Dharampal and that of Sonia and Sanjeev. Sonia, daughter of a former Haryana MLA, and her husband Sanjeev drugged and killed eight of her family in Hisar in 2001 including her parents. These cases have now been appealed in the Supreme Court by human rights activists. 
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