SC ruling on clemency timely

I refer to the editorial, ďSC on pardon: Judicial review will check abuse of powerĒ (Oct 13). In the exercise of the power to grant pardon, the President and the Governors do not have any individual discretion; they will have to act on the advice of the governments at the Centre and in the states.

Obviously, as the executive advice is generally based on political and other considerations, this power is misused like the then Andhra Pradesh Governor Sushil Kumar Shinde. The Supreme Court has rightly called for judicious exercise of this power by the President and the Governors.

The founding fathers of the Constitution never thought that this power would be abused. Even otherwise, the sanctity of the court ruling gets eroded when the executive misuses the power to pardon. Having been in the legal profession for over 35 years, I feel this power should be withdrawn from the President and the Governors and instead given to the Chief Justice of India.

RAJ KUMAR BINDLISH, Advocate, Kaithal




The Supreme Court has rightly ruled that the President and the Governors should exercise their clemency power with utmost circumspection. As they exercise this power on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, they should not ignore the facts that influenced the judiciary in giving death sentence to a particular accused.

This is a good suggestion and the executive must follow the same scrupulously.

DALIP SINGH WASAN, Advocate, Patiala


As a lawyer, I feel the grant of mercy is not subject to judicial review. A mercy petition to the President or a Governor is preferred only when all the judicial avenues have been approached, i.e. when the role of the court has been fully exhausted. Mercy petition is an instrument for constitutional relief which cannot be challenged anywhere.

GEETANJALI KORPAL, Advocate, Amritsar


The Supreme Court ruling on pardon is very timely as the mercy petition filed by Mohd Afzal Guruís family is pending with the President. The attack on Indian Parliament was a pre-planned and calculated act of extreme culpability. In Machhi Singhís case (AIR 1983 SC 957), the Supreme Court ruled that only in the rarest of rare case should a court give the extreme penalty of death by hanging. Clearly, Afzalís case fits into this category.

In the annals of criminal jurisprudence too, it was a diabolical act attracting death penalty. Had the five policemen not swallowed the terroristsí bullets, it would have claimed the precious lives of our Union Ministers and MPs. Thus, Afzal deserves no mercy.

Dr DEVINDER SINGH, Advocate, Amritsar


As a retired soldier, I am against death sentence and Parliament should abolish it. However, one should examine the gravity of the offence in question. The crime in question ó attack on Parliament ó was committed against the entire nation because Parliament is the seat of our democracy.



Any action against the state is considered anti-national. Afzal waged a war against India by abetting the attack on Parliament. The consequences would have been very serious had the terrorists succeeded in their nefarious act. Our brave security personnel confronted them and foiled their action by scarifying their own lives. Afzal deserves no mercy.

M.S. GILL, Kokri Kalan, Moga


I hold no brief for Afzal sentenced to death. One should realise that he could not avail himself of the services of a competent lawyer to defend himself. Secondly, all the five terrorists who attacked Parliament were shot dead on the spot. As a result, there is no living eyewitness to prove Afzalís direct complicity in the crime. Thirdly, he was not present on the crime spot.

SI Balbir Singh, who was awarded death sentence by the Supreme Court in the Indira Gandhi assassination case, was later acquitted by the same court. Ram Jethmalani defended him. Natural justice demands that Afzalís case be referred to the larger bench of the Supreme Court and he be given a chance to defend himself through a competent lawyer.

Lieut (IN) SUKHDEV SINGH GILL (retd), Jagraon

Divali with a difference

Children and pets are injured, maimed or even blinded every year due to irresponsible use of fireworks on Divali. The bright flames and unrestricted noise of fireworks and crackers, besides polluting the environment, cause horror to animals. The pets should be kept indoors during the display of crackers. Dogs, cats and rabbits are extra sensitive and hence should be kept in safe rooms.

Owing to administrative sloth and insensitivity, people indulge in blatant display of crackers with impunity. Letís celebrate this Divali with a difference.




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