The first execution under the NDA government could come any day now. President Pranab Mukherjee in July rejected the mercy pleas of six convicts in five cases, while a seventh had seen his petition rejected in October 2013. Among the latest six, however, Maharashtra sisters Seema Mohan Gavit and Renuka Shinde, as well as Assam’s Holiram Bordoloi, have moved court and their execution is on hold.
None of these has been convicted in a terror case. Two such convicts, too, are on death row: 2000 Red Fort attack convict Mohammad Arif, whose mercy petition is pending, and 1993 Bombay blasts convict Yakub Memon, whose petition the President has rejected; both have moved the Supreme Court which reserved its verdict last month.
The two hangings carried out under UPA-II were of terror case convicts Ajmal Kasab (November 2012) and Afzal Guru (February 2013). Unlike their executions, however, any hanging now cannot take place suddenly, or in secret. On January 21, a bench led by then Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam laid down guidelines requiring the government to give at least 14 days’ notice before an execution “to allow the prisoner to prepare himself… (and) have a last and final meeting with his family members”.
In the two years that he has been President, Mukherjee has rejected the mercy pleas of 31 convicts (22 cases), and pardoned one. The Supreme Court subsequently commuted the sentences of 15 convicts (9 cases). Previous president Pratibha Patil had granted clemency to 34 of 39 convicts.
Their mercy petitions all rejected..
Koli, a domestic help in businessman Moninder Singh Pandher’s home in Nithari, Noida, was convicted of rape, murder and cannibalism during 2005-2006. The trial court gave him death in five cases; Allahabad High Court confirmed it in one case; the Supreme Court upheld it in February 2011. The President rejected his mercy petition on July 20, 2014. Four days later, the Supreme Court rejected his review petition.
The resident of Manasa in Madhya Pradesh’s Neemuch district was convicted of killing his wife, four daughters and son by the additional sessions judge, Manasa. The sentence was confirmed by Madhya Pradesh High Court, then upheld by the Supreme Court in September 2009. The President rejected his mercy petition on July 7, 2014.
Rajendra Prahladrao Wasnik
Wasnik took three-year-old Vandana away, ostensibly to buy her biscuits. The naked body of the child, bearing injuries, was found in the fields later. The death sentence, awarded by the first additional sessions judge, Amravati, was upheld by Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench in March 2009 and by the Supreme Court in February 2012. The President rejected his petition on July 31, 2014.
Ajay Kumar Pal
The domestic help of an Indian Forest Service officer in Ranchi was arrested on June 2, 2003, for killing the officer’s wife, their son, two other children who were visiting the family, and another help. The death sentence by a special CBI court was upheld by Jharkhand High Court and then the Supreme Court on March 16, 2010. The President rejected his mercy petition on October 27, 2013.
…These ones have EARNED RESPITE
He was convicted of leading the killing of three persons, including a six-year-old, in Morigaon district of Assam and sentenced by a sessions judge on May 5, 2003. The Supreme Court confirmed the sentence on April 8, 2005, noting that “the dragging of Nagarmol Bordoloi by Holiram to his house and then cutting him into pieces in broad daylight in the presence of bystanders” was an aggravating circumstance. Bordoloi’s mercy petition, pending for nine years, was finally rejected on July 5, 2014. Bordoloi filed a writ petition against the “inordinate delay in disposing the mercy petition by the President”. On August 7, Gauhati High Court suspended the execution for a month.
Seema Gavit & Renuka Shinde
Mercy petition rejected on July 7, 2014. Subsequent appeal citing delay in disposal is pending in Bombay High Court.
Saibanna Ningappa Natikar
While on parole after receiving a life sentence for the murder of his wife, Natikar, in 1994, suspected the fidelity of his second wife and killed her, along with her daughter. The Supreme Court confirmed the sentence in 2005, and the President rejected his mercy petition on January 4, 2013. Karnataka High Court stayed the execution after being told that matters relating to a delay in decisions on mercy petitions were pending in the Supreme Court.
The resident of Sonepat was sentenced to 10 years for rape. While on parole in 1993, he, along with his brother Nirmal, killed the rape victim, along with her parents and two brothers. Both were sentenced to death on May 5, 1997. Punjab and Haryana High Court confirmed the sentence in 1998; the Supreme Court upheld death for Dharampal but commuted Nirmal’s sentence in 1999. The President rejected Dharampal’s mercy petition on March 25, 2013, but the execution has been stayed by the high court.
B A Umesh
The former CRPF constable was arrested for the rape and murder of Jayashree Maradi Subbaiah, 37, and sentenced to death by a fast-track court in 2006. The sentence was upheld by Karnataka High Court, then confirmed by the Supreme Court on January 2, 2011. The President rejected his mercy petition on May 12, 2013. He filed a fresh petition that is pending before a Supreme Court constitution bench.
Yakub Abdul Razak Memon
The chartered accountant brother of fugitive Mumbai blasts accused Tiger Memon was sentenced to death by a TADA court in 2007. The Supreme Court upheld it in March 2013, and the President rejected the mercy petition in April 2014. On June 2, 2014, the SC stayed the execution, and referred his plea to a constitution bench, which has reserved its verdict.
In November 2004, Sardar killed five members of a family in Chhattisgarh, and was convicted on the eyewitness account of a 10-year-old girl who escaped. The death penalty was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 2012, the mercy petition rejected by the President on May 5, 2014. On June 19, 2014, the SC stayed the execution and referred the case to a constitution bench.
Birla said her campaign this time is “very similar” to the last time.