INDIA: PRESIDENT REJECTS MERCY PLEA OF MAN WHO KILLED WIFE, DAUGHTER
|President Pranab Mukherjee
January 4, 2013: President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the mercy petition of murder convict Saibanna Ningappa Natikar, making it the second mercy petition that he was rejected so far.
Natikar was convicted of killing his wife and daughter.
The rejection comes at a time when there is growing concern over crimes against women after the December 16 gang-rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapist in Delhi.
Natikar murdered his wife and 18-month-old daughter and was sentenced to death. His sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 2005.
In November 2012, Mukherjee rejected the mercy petition of Mumbai terror attack accused Ajmal Kasab. The rejection and hanging was done in secrecy with information about the death row prisoner being released only after the hanging.
The President has sent nine petitions including that of Mohammed Afzal Guru back to the home ministry for further consideration. Guru is listed at number eight in precedence.
Article 72 of the Constitution empowers the President to pardon, grant reprieve or suspend, remit, commute sentence of a person convicted for any offence. The President is guided and advised by the home minister and the council of ministers in his decision. There is no timeframe in which the President has to make the decision which is subject to judicial review.
Former President Pratibha Patil granted clemency to 35 convicts and rejected three pleas. Her disposal rate was about 200% unlike KR Narayanan who only disposed of one petition of the 10 he received and APJ Abdul Kalam who had a disposal rate of 12.5%. (Sources: timesofindia.indiatimes.com, 14/01/2013)