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Rejected Afzal Guru’s mercy plea on government’s advice

Former president Pranab Mukherjee said on Friday he rejected Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s mercy petition on advice from the government as he could not have assumed the role of the court which had already considered the death sentence at various stages.

Mukherjee, who is against the continuation of the death sentence, also insisted that it was for lawmakers to amend the law and abolish capital punishment, which is in the Indian Penal Code. During his tenure from 2012 to 2017, Mukherjee rejected 30 mercy pleas.

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“Before a mercy petition comes to the President, it passes through various stages and different actions had already been taken. The President goes by the advice of the government,” he told HT in an interview.

“If the government advises rejection of the mercy petition, the President naturally will go by that. The President cannot assume the role of the court which had already considered the death sentence at various stages.”

A trial court sentenced Afzal, then studying medicine, to death on December 18, 2002, for his role in the terror attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001.

News First Posted IN HT 

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