MHA prays Supreme Court to clarify or alter ‘Shatrughan Chauhan’ case guidelines for Mercy Petition
In a 2014 case, Shatrughan Singh Chauhan v. Union of India, there were paid down the guide lines of procedure to be followed by a convection while filling a mercy petition. Ministry of Home Affairs beleived it to be being misused by the convicts to stretch the execution of punishment. This, however, can result as a dehumanising delay in death sentence and on this ground, could be commuted to life imprisonment. The centre in this concern has filed an application in Supreme Court to make changes in those guidelines of 2014 judgement.
Referring to the 2012 , Nirbhaya case, in which only one convict Mukesh Singh has submitted mercy petition and the option of plea is still open to the other three convicts, MHA said that this shows dehumanising effect on those whose plea is rejected but has to wait till the proceedings with respect to other co-convict are pending.
Also, Section 366 and section 368 of CrPC makes it mandatory not to execute the sentence of death unless the same is confirmed by the Hon’ble High Court. “366. Sentence of death to be submitted by Court of session for confirmation.
(1) When the Court of Session passes a sentence of death, the proceedings shall be submitted to the High Court, and the sentence shall not be executed unless it is confirmed by the High Court.
Exclusive and wide-ranging powers provided to the trial courts under section 216 of CrPC
(2) The Court passing the sentence shall commit the convicted person to jail custody under a warrant. “368. Power of High Court to confirm sentence or annul conviction. In any case submitted under section 366, the High Court-
(c) may acquit the accused person: Provided that no order of confirmation shall be made under this section until the period allowed for preferring an appeal has expired, or, if an appeal is presented within such period, until such appeal is disposed of.”
The MHA further in there prayer application mentioned following 3 aspects: “(i) It would be permissible for the death convicts to file curative petition after rejection of review petition only within a time to be stipulated by this Hon’ble Court and not thereafter;
(ii) to clarify and direct that if the convict of death sentence wants to file mercy petition, it would be mandatory for a convict of death sentence to do so only within a period of seven days from the date of receipt of death warrant issued by the competent court; and
(iii) to mandate all the competent courts, State Governments, prison authorities in the country to issue death warrant of a convict within seven days of the rejection of his mercy petition and to execute death sentence within seven days thereafter irrespective of the stage of review petition/curative petition/mercy petition of his co-convicts.”