SC notice to Centre on PIL against commuting death sentence
Former President Pratibha Patil’s decision to commute death sentence of five condemned prisoners in child rape cases on Monday came under judicial scrutiny with the Supreme Court issuing notice to the Centre on a plea seeking to set aside the commutation.
A bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam agreed to hear a PIL questioning the then President’s decision to commute death penalty in the cases of extreme brutality.
The petitioner Pinki Virani, a journalist, contended that out of 35 cases in which death sentence was commuted by Ms. Patil, five cases are pertaining to brutal child rape and submitted that the relief should not have been granted by the President in those cases.
Questioning the decision taken by the President, the petitioner submitted that these are shocking cases and death sentence should not have been revoked.
“We need to tell the government that this is not the way to exercise the power,” senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for the petitioner, submitted before the bench also comprising justices Ranjana P Desai and Ranjan Gogoi.
“We are not happy with the present state of affairs,” he submitted.
The bench after brief hearing agreed to adjudicate the matter and issued notices to the Centre and Ministry of Home Affairs.