Mercy plea rejected, and still alive

Print edition : August 21, 2015

Death-row convicts who have successfully challenged the President’s rejection of their mercy petitions by filing of writ petitions either before the High Court or the Supreme Court:

Ajay Kumar Pal: The Supreme Court Bench of Justices Dipak Misra, R.F. Nariman, and U.U. Lalit commuted his death sentence on December 12, 2014, on the grounds of delay combined with solitary confinement.

Surinder Koli: The Allahabad High Court commuted his death sentence in the Nithari killings case to life imprisonment on the grounds of delay in disposing of mercy petitions and on other grounds on January 28 this year. The High Court cited the apex court’s judgment in the Ajay Pal case for arriving at its decision.

Magan Lal and Sundar Singh: In Shatrughan Chauhan vs Union of India, decided in January last year, the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence on 15 persons to life imprisonment. Of them, these two convicts invoked successfully the grounds of their mental illness. The others argued on the basis of undue and unexplained delay in disposing of their mercy petitions by the President.

Mahendra Nath Das: The Supreme Court commuted his death sentence to life on the grounds of delay in disposing of his mercy petition, in 2013.

Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar: The Supreme Court commuted his death sentence on the grounds of delay in disposing of his mercy petition and mental illness, in March 2014.

Dharam Pal: The Punjab and Haryana High Court commuted his death sentence because of delay in disposing of his mercy petition, in April this year.

Death-row convicts whose writ petitions are pending on grounds of delay: Saibanna (Karnataka High Court); Holiram Bordoloi (Guwahati High Court); Seema Gavit and Renuka Shinde (Bombay High Court); and on the grounds of solitary confinement: Sonu Sardar (Delhi High Court).

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