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President rejects 5 mercy petitions, commutes death sentence to life term for 2

New Delhi, Apr 4 (): Using the power under Article 72 of the Constitution to remit or commute sentences in certain cases, President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday upheld the execution in five cases out of seven people who have been convicted for heinous crimes and commuted death sentence to life term for two others. It was not however clear about the details of individual cases, said sources.

Now with this revelation, there is no other mercy petition pending before the President. Sources said the home ministry has recommended for rejection of mercy appeals in five cases and left two cases open for commutation of death sentence to life imprisonment with a stipulation that the life term indicates being in jail for rest of the life and not just 20 years or 14 years in prison.

Neither the officials from the home ministry nor the President House were ready to reply about the details of individual cases. All through the year only some of the cases of the death penalty reached the President’s desk.

During former President Prathiba Patil’s tenure between 2007 and 2012, she commuted thirty-five death penalty convicts to life imprisonment. Patil however rejected mercy appeal in three cases including five convicts.

Cases reported to have been disposed included the longest pending case of a convict from Uttar Pradesh, Gurmeet Singh who was convicted for assassinating thirteen members of a family on August 17, 1986. Another one was Dharampal from Haryana who was convicted after he was found guilty for killing five family members of the victim whom he raped in 1993.

Another one convict was the daughter of a former Haryana MLA Sonia and her husband Sanjeev, who killed eight people from their family in Hisar in 2001.  While Jafar Ali was convicted for killing his wife and five daughters in 2002, Sunder Singh was convicted for rape and murder in June 1989.