Centre Doesn't Have "In Compile Format" Data On Mercy Petitions Moved By Rapists or Terrorists, Reveals RTI

Centre Doesn

The President has received 135 mercy petitions since 1981 from death row convicts but the Centre, it seems, has no data on the mercy petitions received prior to 1981. It also does not have "in compile format" data on how many mercy petitions were moved by rapists or terrorists.

This is the situation when the government in April 2018 had brought an ordinance making rape of children under 12 years of age a crime punishable with a death sentence.

Activist Kush Kalra had moved an RTI application to know how many pardon applications moved by murderers, rapists, terrorists were pending/ accepted/rejected by the President from the year 1950 till date.

In response to his query received on transfer from the President's Secretariat, the Ministry of Home Affairs said, "…information regarding murderers, rapists, terrorists is not available in compile format."

Also, the MHA did not provide the data from the year 1950 as it said, "the list of mercy petitions received and disposed/ commuted by the Hon'ble President of India is available since 1981…"

It is to be noted that the website of the President's Secretariat reveals archives containing only the statement of mercy petition cases during the tenure of former President Pranab Mukherjee, which is from the year 2012 to the year 2017.

Even the search option available on the site is from the year 2009 but yields no results.

Kalra said the government must also maintain statement/data on the basis of the offence committed by the convict.

As for the statement of mercy petition cases provided to Kalra, of the 135 mercy petitions received and considered by the President since 1981, 99 have been rejected while in 34 petitions, capital punishment has been commuted to life imprisonment.

Among these 135 mercy petitions is the petition of Balwant Singh Raojana, convicted for the assassination of Beant Singh, the former Chief Minister of Punjab. Raojana made a plea for mercy in 2012. His plea remains "under examination".

Another death row convict named Ajit Singh Gujral, guilty of killing his wife and their three children and whose death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court in September 2011. He had moved a mercy petition in November 2011. He died in March 2012, before his petition could be decided.

The latest mercy petition to be rejected by President Ram Nath Kovind was on April 23, 2018, of convict Jagat Rai from Bihar, who had murdered six persons by setting their house on fire.

Of all the mercy petitions, 20 are from Maharashtra, 18 from Tamil Nadu, 17 from Uttar Pradesh, 10 from Punjab and three are from Delhi.