As the Maharashtra government readies to send 1993 Mumbai blast convict Yakub Memon's mercy petition to the Governor today, the government in a separate case told the Supreme Court that repeated mercy petitions compromise 'legal principle'.
Referring to the case of Rajiv Gandhi's assassins, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said that repeated mercy pleas 'frustrate the principle of finality'.
Kumar was representing the Centre. A few days ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had conclusively stated that no more mercy pleas for the killers of Rajiv Gandhi would be allowed.
This creates a quandary for the Centre, the state of Maharashtra and the SC, who are considering the mercy plea filed by the 1993-Bombay blasts convict Yakub Memon. Memon was to be hanged on 30 July,the day he turns 53. But the execution date is likely to be postponed because he filed his final mercy plea,the last resort of a convict on death row, on 22 July. This is because there must be a gap of 14 days between the date of filing the final mercy plea and the date of execution.
Based on the advice of the government, the Maharashtra Governor is supposed to give his verdict on Memon's plea today. This was one of the points discussed by the Solicitor General and the Supreme Court during a meeting in which Kumar asserted that the positions of the Governor and the President are compromised when a convict repeatedly files mercy pleas after a decision has already been made. In reply, the SC told Kumar that mercy pleas can continue to be filed repeatedly as long as fresh information is added to each.