Only one mercy petition from those facing death sentence was pending consideration before the Governor of a State, which was one of the six that had furnished details of mercy petitions pending with them.

This was stated by the Union government, in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court.

The affidavit said: “nine convicts are facing death sentence in Uttar Pradesh and the Governor has taken decision in all the cases barring one — that of Surender Kohli, S/o Shankar Ram Kohli, convicted under Sections 302, 364, 376 IPC, which is pending since May 7, 2011.”

On February 22, a Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadhyay directed the Union Home Secretary to collect the information from the States in three days and file a comprehensive affidavit. However, only six States responded.

The Bench was hearing mercy petitions filed by Devender Pal Singh Bhullar and others, who challenged the rejection on the grounds of inordinate delay. The convicts are pleading for commuting the death sentence into one of life imprisonment.

Limited response

The Centre, in its affidavit, said that despite sending letters, fax messages and emails to the Chief Secretaries of all the States, only the six furnished details.

Regarding Gujarat, the Centre said: “Appeals of 20 persons who have been awarded death sentence are pending with the Gujarat High Court. No mercy petition has been filed by any of these convicts.”

As per information received from Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram, no mercy petition was pending their Governors consideration.

The Centre had filed details of the mercy petitions pending with the President, saying it could not file the details of the petitions pending with the State governments/Governors in the absence of a response from them. A Special Leave Petition filed by Mahendra Nath Das, whose mercy petition was rejected by the President after an inordinate delay of 12 years and his plea for commutation for life imprisonment, has also been listed before this Bench.

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