New Delhi: The Union Home Ministry is flouting its own norms for the disposal of mercy plea. The Ministry had formulated a norm to deal with the mercy pleas of the criminals sentenced to death by the lower courts. As per the norm, the mercy plea is to be disposed of on the basis of sentence pronounced by the hearing court.

Unfortunately, the standard guideline is not being followed by the Home Ministry itself. As a result, fresh cases of mercy plea have been disposed of, whereas several cases are left pending for the past many years.

It is worth mentioning that Parliament attack accused Mohammad Afzal and two other cases are still under consideration of the Ministry.

In its reply to RTI applicant SC Agrawal, the Home Ministry provided for a list of mercy pleas, which reflects that it is flouting its own norms.

According to the Ministry, President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil had rejected the mercy petitions of two convicts Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar of Punjab and Mahender Nath Das of Assam, clearing the way for their execution.

Several pleas remain pending with the Ministry. The oldest case is of Gurmit Singh, who was sentenced to death by a Session Court in connection with massacre on August 17, 1986. Similarly, a lower court in Haryana pronounced death penalty to Dharmpal in case of massacre on September 20, 1993. His plea is also pending with the President.

JPN/Bureau