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Friday, February 6, 2015
President rejects mercy plea of rapist-killer of 3-year-old
Himanshi Dhawan,TNN | Aug 6, 2014, 04.43 AM IST
NEW DELHI: President PranabMukherjee has rejected the mercy petition of death row convict RajendraPralhadraoWasnik who was found guilty of raping and murdering a three-year-old child. Mukherjee, acting on the advice of the home ministry, rejected the petition on July 31.
The President has so far rejected mercy petitions in 22 cases involving 29 death row convicts in his two-year tenure. By rejection Wasnik's mercy petition, he has signed off on the death penalty on five cases related to six convicts in July itself.
Mukherjee has commuted just one death sentence and has no more mercy petitions pending with his office.
This is in sharp contrast to predecessors like K R Narayanan who did not take up any cases, A P J Abdul Kalam who rejected one plea and Pratibha Patil who rejected mercy petitions in three cases commuting the sentence of 34 convicts. Despite the record number of rejections only two hangings have taken place with the convicts challenging the Presidential order in court.
The trend for the quick disposal of mercy petitions was set with Mumbai 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab's execution in November 2012 which was the first hanging after 2004 and marked a sharp departure in India's policy towards death penalty. President Kalam had sent rapist-killer Dhananjoy Chatterjee to the gallows in 2004.
Mukherjee has since rejected the mercy petitions Saibanna Ningappa Natikar on January 4 this year before sentencing death penalty for Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on February 3. He has commuted the death sentence for Atbir who was found guilty for murder of three relatives over a property dispute on November 15, 2012.
In the last two years Mukherjee has 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. In just the last month, he has rejected the mercy petitions of Holiram Bordoloi and Jagdish (accused of multiple murders), Nithari killings convict Surender Koli, Renukabai and Seema (accused of kidnapping and murdering 9 children) and Wasnik.
A 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 home minister and the council of ministers.
According to data accessed through RTI application filed by activist S C Agrawal, Shankar Dayal Sharma rejected all 14 petitions before him while President K R Narayanan received 10 petitions and did not dispose any. Kalam inherited these petitions with another 16 added in his term. He disposed of only two — rejecting the mercy petition of Dhananjoy Chatterjee, accused of raping and murdering a teenager and commuting the death sentence Kheraj Ram.
Patil granted clemency to 34 convicts in her tenure while rejecting 3 pleas. These included the politically sensitive case of former PM Rajiv Gandhi's assassins, Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan. She also rejected the mercy petition of Devinder Singh Bhullar, found guilty of killing 9 bystanders in a 1993 car bombing intended to kill Maninderjeet Singh Bitta and Mahendra Nath Das, accused of murder.
Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/President-rejects-mercy-plea-of-rapist-killer-of-3-year-old/articleshow/39718200.cms [last accessed 06.02.2015]