President Ram Nath Kovind has won appreciation from several quarters after he rejected the mercy petition of Mukesh Singh, who is a convict in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case in record time, i.e., four days.
“It’s a very good thing. Our hopes have gone up after the disheartening news that the execution might be delayed,” Nirbhaya’s father told PTI.
Earlier, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced his government’s rejection of the clemency plea on Wednesday afternoon. Afterwards, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi forwarded it to the Union Home Ministry urging rejection of the clemency plea.
In the next 24 hours, it reached Home Minister Amit Shah’s table who signed off on the state’s recommendation. By Thursday evening, the petition had reached Rashtrapati Bhavan. President Kovind’s order was conveyed to the Home Ministry by Friday morning. President Kovind has created a record by swiftly dealing with the clemency plea within hours after it came to Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Mukesh Singh, who was originally ordered to be hanged on January 22 along with three others, before Delhi Judge Satish Kumar Arora issued a fresh black warrant on Friday to execute the four men at 6 am on February 1, had sent across the mercy petition on Tuesday, hours after the Supreme Court dismissed his curative petition against the death sentence verdict.
Interestingly, the previous record of 42 days in the last 40 years was on a clemency plea filed by a Rajasthan farmer Ram Chander in 1996. Terrorist Ajmal Kasab’s mercy plea filed in September, 2012 during the President-ship of Pranab Mukherjee, came second as it was decided in 54 days.
Mercy petitions are decided considering several aspects with regard to the convict. According to the Home Ministry, there are broad guidelines on the aspects that are taken into consideration when deciding a mercy plea. Personality of the accused (such as age, sex or mental deficiency) or the circumstances of the case (such as provocation or other similar justification).
Sighting the number of stakeholders such as state government, Governor, home minister apart from the Rashtrapati Bhavan, clemency petitions take a lot of time to be resolved. The diligence and sensitivity shown by the President and his office is commendable. President Kovind has rightly grasped the public sentiment in this case. Swift resolution of the clemency plea depicts the stand of the government as well, as it also ensures the ‘due process of law’.