Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Home Ministry to President: reject Afzal Guru’s mercy plea

The Home Ministry is understood to have recommended to President Pratibha Patil that she reject the mercy plea of Mohammad Afzal Guru, who was convicted of conspiracy in the case of the attack on the Parliament House in December 2001.

“The mercy petition… of the death convict, Mohd. Afzal Guru, has since been submitted to the President's Secretariat on July 27, 2011, for a decision,” Minister of State for Home Affairs Mullappally Ramachandran told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply on Wednesday. The question was posed by Prakash Javadekar of the BJP.

Afzal Guru's death sentence was confirmed by the Delhi High Court and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2004. His execution, scheduled for October 20, 2006, was stayed on a mercy petition filed by his wife.

In its recommendation, the Home Ministry is believed to have cited the Delhi government's recommendation and that of the Delhi Lt. Governor, who also favoured the execution of Afzal Guru, who has remained a death row prisoner in the Tihar Jail for the past seven years.

Asked whether there is any provision under the Constitution for deciding on any “clemency petition” against the capital punishment as per the sequence of its submission, Mr. Ramachandran replied in the negative. “It was an administrative decision to ensure fair and urgent treatment of all cases.”

Meanwhile, Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi told journalists that it was not proper to say anything on issues referred to the President.

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