INDIA: PRESIDENTIAL PARDON FOR OLDEST DEATH ROW CONVICT
August 27, 2010: Indian President Pratibha Patil has commuted the death sentence of 75- year- old Shobhit Chamar â the oldest mercy petitioner alive.
For a person who has already spent 22 years of his life behind bars, this had been a long wait. His mercy petition was with the Presidentâs office since 1998.
Chamar was jailed for killing six members of his upper- caste landlordâs family, including two children aged 10 years and eight years.
The ministry of home affairs ( MHA) had twice rejected his mercy plea in 2000 and 2005 respectively, recommending to the Presidentâs secretariat that he be hanged.
But the MHA relented the third time around last month when the President again sent Chamarâs file back to home minister P. Chidambaramâs office on June 9, 2010, for reconsideration.
The MHA revised its opinion saying Chamarâs sentence may be commuted given his old age and sent a communication accordingly to the President on July 6, 2010.
Based on the ministryâs suggestion, the President has decided that Chamar will spend the rest of his life in jail without parole. (Sources: Mail Today, 27/08/2010)