It is a shame that some politicians want mercy for criminals whose mercy petitions are rejected by the President. Some months back a Sikh terrorist’s petition was rejected and Akali and Congress politicians from Punjab wanted mercy for him. The terrorist had gone to Supreme Court and wanted his petition to be settled one way or other and after the rejection he has gone to court challenging the dismissal.
Now some politicians from Tamil Nadu want mercy for three Tamil terrorists. It is perverse for Karunanidhi to ask mercy for Rajiv Gandhi’s killers claiming Rajiv Gandhi would have shown mercy under similar circumstances. Rajiv Gandhi did not die alone. Fifteen innocent people, including nine policemen on duty, died in the blast. No thought is given to them. The terrorists have appealed to Madras High Court on the ground of delay in decision. Karunanidhi, Vaiko and other politicians who oppose death penalty had lost elections.
Part of the problem is that India had wrong people as Presidents. The delay in deciding on mercy petitions started with K. R. Narayaran who did not want to reject any mercy petition. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam rejected one mercy petition and after that refused to reject. Pratibha Patil did not want to reject mercy petitions for three years and ten months. Governments of the day did not act against them and MPs did not impeach them.
Delay in deciding mercy petition is not cruel. There is no double punishment. Delayed time is bonus for criminals. They get to live longer. There is no anguish or psychological trauma. There is hope.
Jayalalitha said she has no power to pardon and the criminals can go to President again. Subramanian Swamy said the overwhelming majority of people in Tamil Nadu want the three hanged. There is no question of showing any compassion beyond normal process.
It is strange that High Courts entertain petitions related to death penalty decided by Supreme Court and rejected by President. There should be a ban on such things. There should be only one mercy petition and hanging should take place soon after rejection.