The Indian Government had asked the Indian President to confirm the death sentence to the main convict of the December 2001 attack on the country’s Parliament – Afzal Guru, announced the country’s Junior Home Minister Mullappally Ramachandran in the Parliament, Wednesday.
Afzal was convicted of the conspiracy to attack Indian Parliament, and was sentenced to death by the country’s apex court – Supreme Court of India – in 2004. The sentence was scheduled to be carried out on October 20, 2006. However, Guru’s execution was stayed following a mercy petition filed by his wife before the country’s President.
The country’s Constitution empowers the President to commute the death sentence of a convict into a life-term or set him/ her free.
In Afzal Guru’s case, the President’s office has been indecisive all these years, and the convict continues to remain on death row. As per the Constitution, the President is not bound by any timeframe to decide on a mercy petition, and can even return the Government’s recommendation for a review.
The country’s Home Ministry had sent Afzal Guru’s case-file to the President’s Office for a decision last week. “The mercy petition case of death-convict Mohd. Afzal Guru has since been submitted to the President’s Secretariat on July 27, 2011 for a decision,” Ramachandran informed the Parliament’s Upper House – Rajya Sabha.
The Minister said this while responding to a question from an MP as to why the Government was not taking steps with regard to expediting the pending mercy petition of Afzal’s death row.