BACKGROUND:(Mercy Petition in Child Rape)
President of India Ram Nath Kovind on 6th December 2019 has stated that child rapists shouldn’t be given a right to file mercy petition. The capital punishment is losing its relevance in India as it fails to deter the society from committing the crime, said by Justice V. R Krishna Iyer in 1975. Most of the International instrument has stressed States to abolish the death sentence from their penal law as it violates the human rights aspect, in other words, it is also a type of murder or killing. In consonance with this, the Law Commission of India has also recommended the legislature to take appropriate steps to abolish capital punishment in India. The main reason for capital punishment losing its relevance in India. This is mainly due to the criminal legal system in India which gives other types of the resort to escape from capital punishment like pardoning power by the President and the governor of each State in India. President Mr. Ram Nath Govind has felt that this is the right time to abolish pardoning power and mercy petition for the accused of child rape to protect the future generation and to allow them to live their childhood happily.
CURRENT ISSUE: (Mercy Petition in Child Rape)
In the background of simmering outrage within the society over the intense increase in sexual crimes committed against women and children, President of India Ram Nath Kovind on 6th December 2019 has stated that the accused in child rape shouldn’t be given a right to file mercy petition. The President said, “Women safety is a serious issue. The attacks happening on daughters have shaken the soul of the country. Rape accused under the POCSO Act should not have the right to file mercy petition. They do not need any such rights. This is an issue that needs to be discussed by the Parliament. He was speaking about this in the National Convention on the management of girls for Social Transformation organized by Brahmakumaris at Sirohi, Rajasthan. Meanwhile, it was reported that the Ministry of Home Affairs has suggested the rejection of mercy petition filed by Vinay Sharma, one among the cellblock convicts in the 2012 Old Delhi gang rape-murder case.
QUESTION IN LAW:
President’s ‘mercy petition” is a constitutionally bestowed power. As per Article 72 of the Constitution, the President can grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishments. For convicts facing death gallows, ‘mercy petition’ – application seeking President’s pardon under Article 72 – is the last resort to avoid execution. This power is exercised by the President on the help and advice of the Union Government, supported the recommendations from the concerned authorities. The pardoning provision is a two sharp needled instrument in either (to have it or to remove it) way, it will cause a problem to the executive and judiciary in an Indian Society. The main reason for providing the pardoning power to the president who is in an executive wing is mainly to ensure that the distribution of power the miscarriage of Justice will not happen.
In 2014, the Supreme Court command in V Sriharan (alias) Murugan v. Union of India case that long and excessive delay choose mercy petitions is ground to commute capital punishment. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act was recently amended by the Parliament in the 2019 monsoon session to provide for the death penalty for “aggravated penetrative sexual assault” on children. Mr. Ramnath Govind has thought this is the right to address this issue as in the name of the child one cannot escape the punishment for the barbarous crime done in a sound mind or in other words the convict can differentiate what is right and wrong. Therefore, nowadays the crime has committed in a well-planned manner where it is difficult to find whether it is a crime or not. In most of the cases, the crime is executed through the children so that both the child and the criminal or instigator will escape from the eye of the law. To prevent this stinging aspect should be put forward by breaking the fundamental principles in the name of the human rights aspect.