//23 mercy petitions on capital punishment pending before govt

23 mercy petitions on capital punishment pending before govt

New Delhi, Nov 29: Twenty-three cases of mercy petitions involving 44 prisoners who have been sentenced to death, were pending with the government till October this year, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.

Out of the total 23 cases, two cases were pending for less than a year, eight for three years and 13 cases for over three years, Minister of State for Home Affairs R Regupathy said in a written reply.

He said 22 petitions filed before the President of India have been processed in the Ministry of Home Affairs and submitted to the President for taking a decision.

One petition is being processed in the Ministry, he added.

Replying to a related question, Regupathy said as per the procedure prescribed, a mercy petition can be filed by a condemned prisoner or on his behalf to the President or the Governor.

To another question on violation of human rights, Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal, quoting National Human Rights Commission, said there were 51,885 cases of human rights violations during the last three years.

He also informed the Upper House that 179 cases were registered against Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)  under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Indian Penal Code, Explosive Substances Act, Prevention of Terrorism Act, Arms Act and Essential Services. (Agencies).  Many believe that India's Intelligence agencies, which is loaded with hindutva fascists  is trying to build many cases revolving around SIMI without adequate proof, but to substantiate its ban. Lawyer and human rights activist P. A. Sebastin is openly critical of the police’s line of investigations. “The state seems to have acted with a pre-decided idea that SIMI was involved right from day one in Mumbai blasts and Malagon Blasts . This is a line of thought that they want to prove at any cost. Such acts of prejudice destroy real evidence.”

Almost the entire investigation by the Mumbai police hinges on confessions by the accused induced through narco-analysis. Says lawyer and human rights activist Mihir Desai, “When police rely on confessions, one has to be extra-cautious about digesting what they (the police) dish out. Confessions are not voluntary.” In fact, soon after the police commissioner’s press conference, some families of the accused moved court with affidavits that spoke of torture.