Out-of-turn decision on the now-hanged Ajmal Kasab's mercy-petition was the need of the hour. It is the second-most fastest decided mercy-petition in India. The first one being that of a poor young man Rajiv alias Ram Chandra who was hanged to death in 1996 in less than three years of murdering his family in 1993 after his case passed through all stages of trial court, High Court, Supreme Court. His mercy petition was decided in record six days by the then President Dr Shanker Dayal Sharma even though no deciding authority could establish motivation for the crime. Evidently, the poor fellow had neither influence nor money to engage costly lawyers.
IT WAS indeed a murder of an insane person by the system, who did the crime only out of his insanity. Even his mercy petition was drafted by some lay person who just replaced name of petitioner by retaining facts and circumstances the same from where the mercy petition was copied.
Abnormally high delay in deciding mercy petitions and also subsequent execution in case of rejection of mercy petitions, unnecessarily creates provocation - including even state assemblies passing resolutions for pardon on religious and regional basis.
In fact, a division bench of Supreme Court has expressed concern on such policy of indecision, which is even torturous for convicted persons living a life of uncertainty - apart from creating emotions - also diluting fear against committing the crime.
There should be a rule to finally decide on mercy petitions within three months of their filing, and hanging done within one week of rejection of mercy petition. Indecision can repeat incidents like the infamous hijack of IC-814 at Kandhar to get death convicts like Afzal Guru freed before being hanged.
Earlier, there was a system to decide mercy petitions according to date of the mercy petition. But after it was noted that rich convicts postponed death punishment through long stretch of court-cases at various levels - it was later decided to decide mercy petitions on the basis of date of trial-court judgments, even though most logical concept would have been to decide mercy petitions on basis of date of crime.
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