Days after the hanging of Afzal Guru, President Pranab Mukherjee has upheld execution in five cases and commuted death sentence to life term in two others, acting on all the pending mercy petitions.
Dharampal, a rape convict who murdered five members of the victim’s family while out on parole in 1993, will be hanged in Ambala prison, Haryana jail authorities said Thursday after the President rejected his mercy petition. Dharampal was charged with raping a girl in Sonepat in 1991 and was given a 10-year jail sentence in 1993. Shortly after being granted parole in 1993, he bludgeoned to death the girl’s parents, a sister and two brothers while they were sleeping at their home.
A couple of months back, the President had rejected the mercy pleas of four associates of the infamous forest brigand Veerappan, who were sentenced to death in a landmine blast case.
The President has ordered death penalty for seven convicts in the last seven months, way more than any Indian President in the last 15 years.
Here’s a look at the other Indian Presidents’ record of ordering death penalties to convicts:
Pranab Mukherjee: He rejected the mercy petitions of Mumbai terror attack convict Ajmal Kasab on 5 November, 2012 and Saibanna Ningappa Natikar on 4 January before clearing Guru’s death penalty on 3 February. On 13 February, he rejected the mercy pleas of four associates of Veerappan.
He commuted the death sentence of Atbir, who was found guilty of murdering three relatives on 15 November, 2012 over a property dispute.
Pratibha Patil: She granted clemency to 34 convicts including four rapist-killers during her tenure while rejecting three pleas. These included the politically sensitive case of former PM Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan. She also rejected the mercy petition of Devinder Singh Bhullar, found guilty of killing nine bystanders in a 1993 car bombing intended to kill Maninderjeet Singh Bitta. The third petition she rejected was that of Mahendra Nath Das, accused of murder. The cases of both Bhullar and Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins are pending before the Supreme Court.
APJ Abdul Kalam: President Kalam rejected a petition, left 14 pending and granted clemency in one case. He inherited the nine petitions from his predecessor KR Narayanan. He disposed of only two, rejecting the mercy petition of Dhananjoy Chatterjee, accused of raping and murdering a teenager, and commuting the death sentence of Kheraj Ram.
Kocheril Raman Narayanan: He received 10 petitions, of which he commuted the death penalty of G V Rao and S C Rao from Andhra Pradesh and the left the rest pending.
Shankar Dayal Sharma: He received 14 mercy petitions and rejected all.