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SC seeks Centre's response on time-bound disposal of mercy petitions
SC seeks Centre's response on time-bound disposal of mercy petitions

New Delhi, May 27 (TIWN) The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to respond on a plea seeking direction to the government to frame specific guidelines for time-bound disposal of mercy petitions.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, issued notice to the Centre and sought its response within four weeks. The bench noted that it would want to know if there is a timeline, followed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), to put up the mercy petition before the President. The observation from the top court came during hearing of a PIL by Shiv Kumar Tripathi through video conferencing.

Tripathi, in the plea, argued that there is lack of guidelines for the MHA to place the mercy plea before the President in a fixed time period. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, sought time to seek instructions and respond to the query. "Issue notice returnable in four weeks. In the meantime, counter affidavit be filed by the respondents," said the bench.

Tripathi cited an example of the US, where a convict can apply to the President for pardon on a prescribed form, available easily along with necessary instructions that are required to be followed. The plea also cited practice in the UK, where a person is willing to seek pardon, he or she has to file an application before the Home Secretary.

The top court noted that that format of the mercy petition is not necessary, instead what is significant is the time limit of placing it before the President. The bench said it cannot direct the President. Tripathi argued that due to delay, the victim''s families feel cheated. "For effective disposal of the mercy petition in a time-bound manner and for transparency therein, it is must that specific procedure and guidelines for disposing the mercy petitions within a time-bound period, are immediately framed and implemented," the plea said.

Tripathi argued that the absence of a specified written procedure and non-existence of guidelines for timely disposal of mercy petitions results in "arbitrariness".

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