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Mahendra Nath Das,who was convicted for a murder he committed in 1996,and awarded death penalty a year later,got yet another major reprieve on Thursday when a division bench of the Supreme Court referred the case to the CJI in view of at least one more similar case,where the issue was the inordinate delay by the President’s office in disposing off mercy petitions.
While Das,whose death penalty was upheld by the Gauhati HC over a week ago,had filed a special leave petition in the SC,the Division Bench on Thursday referred the matter to the CJI,suggesting whether all such cases (of delay in disposal of mercy petitions) could be tagged and placed under one bench.
Dass mercy petition,filed during President K R Narayanan’s tenure in 1999 was finally dismissed only last year by the current President Pratibha Patil.