No time limit for the President to decide mercy plea

The Union government had told the Supreme Court that the long list of undecided mercy pleas of convicted prisoners, some for over a decade, was no ground for changing the decision taken on it by the President in exercise of her constitutional powers.

This current response came in the wake of a petition filed by Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, which was rejected by the President after it had been pending for eight years.

According to the government the Constitutional law has mentioned no time limit for the President to decide mercy plea of convicted prisoners and there is no power given to constitutional courts to lay down a deadline on this matter.

The Centre said “Pendency of the mercy petition cannot be said to be an act of cruelty or an act which adds to the suffering of the prisoner. In fact, it is the pendency of the mercy petition which has given a lease of life to the prisoner,”

It said: “The powers under Article 72 of the Constitution are special powers overriding all other laws, rules and regulation in force. No time frame can be set for the President in this regard.”

Devender Pal Singh Bhullar was sentenced to death by a TADA court on August 25, 2001, for his role in the September 10, 1993, bomb blast in Delhi.

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