The Centre has reportedly said that it is not responsible for the delay in the execution of the convict in the Parliament attack case, Afzal Guru. But this contradicts the Secretary to former President, A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, P.M.Nair’s claim – revealed in his book, The Kalam Effect, that the former President forwarded all the petitions received by him to the MHA, and he did not hear from the MHA on these till his retirement from office. The President, on the question of mercy petitions also, decides on the advice of the Council of Ministers, expressed through the MHA. If what the Minister of State says is correct, then the mercy petitions along with the MHA’s advice must have been sent to Rashtrapati Bhavan after Kalam’s retirement and the new President, Pratibha Patil assumed office. Why the Government is now choosing to attribute delay to the President is a mystery.
While researching this subject, I had filed an RTI on mercy petitions pending and decided. The reply of the Director (Judicial) of the MHA dated 14th December 2007 clearly states that Afzal’s petition is “pending in the Ministry. Comments of NCT of Delhi has been called for.”
The MHA may have sent the file to the President after that, but I doubt that as well. There is no question that it is not the President’s office that is sitting on the petitions. Either the Minister of State is misinformed or this is just very short-sighted banter to avoid heat from the BJP.
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