Time to redefine the power of clemency

THIS refers to P.H. Vaishnav’s article “Death penalty: Defining the power of pardon” (Perspective, Sept 19). The writer has aptly and forcefully asserted the need for defining the power of pardon in relation to capital punishment.

It seems quaint that one can appeal before the Governor and the President for mercy appeal after one is given death penalty. Once the apex court gives its verdict to punish a criminal like Dhananjay, there should be very bleak chances of commutation of the sentence. Besides, the nature of crimes must be categorised and, while doing so, it must be kept in mind that the more heinous the crime, the lesser the chance of forgiveness or mercy.

What is the fun of filing a mercy appeal again once it is rejected? By allowing to file such appeals time and again, it makes a mockery of the law and the whole system. Once the President, being the Head of the State, rejects the mercy appeal, it should not be allowed to be put up before the Governor again for review.

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On the contrary, what the human rights activists want to prove by demanding the abolition of capital punishment no one knows. There is no need of making a hue and cry over the punishment given to the abominable and monstrous perpetrators who first rape and then kill the victim mercilessly.

Dr VINOD K. CHOPRA, Hamirpur (HP)


Apropos of P.H. Vaishnav’s article, the power of the President and the Governors under Articles 72 and 161 of the Constitution respectively are not concurrent. The basic distinguishing feature being that whereas a Governor’s powers extend to the territorial jurisdiction of his state, there is no such binding on the President.

Therefore, when a convict failed before the Governor, he could file an appeal to the President under Art. 72. Some other specified convicts could also seek mercy under this provision.

It is suggested that a mercy petition decided by the President should be treated as final, exhausting all further powers of the executive or the judiciary. This will remove avoidable delay. To overcome this menace, the Limitation Act be amended prescribing a period (say one year) within which the Governor or President may be obliged to dispose of the mercy petition.

Dr DEVINDER SINGH, Advocate, Amritsar

Restoring the glory of Sanskrit

Apropos of Harihar Swarup’s profile “Striving to restore Sanskrit glory” featuring Prof. Govind Chander Pandey (Sunday Oped, Sept 12), Prof Pandey deserves appreciation for his untiring efforts in promoting the cause of a language which, though rich in its pristine glory, could not create a suitable niche in modern era which it richly deserves.

Sanskrit language, more perfect than Greek, more copious than Latin and more exquisitely refined than the either, is a member of Indo-European family of languages. Dravidian languages of south, though not genetically related with Sanskrit or the ancient Vedic languages, contain a large number of borrowed Sanskrit words. Malayalam contains the largest number of borrowed Sanskrit words. Then come Kannada and Telugu. Tamil contains the smallest number of Sanskrit words.
Endowed with the irresistible beauty, Sanskrit’s remarkable elasticity, its unusual expressive power and unbounded suggestiveness, its way of putting an idea in a charming form, its humour and subtle wit and above all its exalted moral tone has always appealed to everyone who has a sense of beauty.
The best way to promote this language in India is to develop ways to nourish it in abroad, because the affinity of Sanskrit with Greek, Italic, Celtic, German, Baltosalvonic and Iranian languages was discovered when the “Shakuntala” was translated into English in late 18th Century.

Dr ANUP K. GAKKHAR, Reader, Dayanand Ayurvedic College, Jalandhar



Sex and the law

Apropos of Sanjay Sharma’s “Call of Cash” and Reeta Sharma’s “Don’t moralise, make it legal” (Saturday Extra, Sept 4), it is time for us to stop living in the world of fantasy. Two fundamental realities must be accepted. First, earning one’s livelihood is a matter of individual choice and it should not be an infringement of the human rights of others. Secondly, we must accept that sex is a biological need and at times, the urge to have sex becomes so strong that it can affect the senses of even the most strong-willed.

The profession of providing sex service in lieu of financial and other considerations is the oldest in human history. I fail to see how this strong biological need of the have-nots fulfilled by willing human beings for financial considerations can be called a crime. Legalising this trade would end the exploitation of women by the police and anti-social elements.

A.K. SHARMA, Chandigarh


The very thought of Reeta Sharma’s proposal “Don’t moralise, make it legal” leaves one appalled. India’s comparison to a highly developed country like Germany in this regard is inappropriate. India can ill-afford what Germany has done.

Since a majority of girls involved in this trade are victims of their circumstances, the media and the government may have a ‘soft corner’ for them but at the same time encouraging it by legislation will have devastating effects.

Legalising prostitution will mean giving licence to a man to transgress all moral barriers. It will add to disease (no matter how much awareness is created) as India is still a developing nation.

GAURI, On e-mail

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