A brilliant piece of writing on the topical issue by Gopalkrishna Gandhi (“The power to pardon,” April 18)! In dealing with a clemency petition, there should neither be haste nor inordinate delay. A mercy petition reaches the President after all legal avenues are exhausted and the “rarest of rare” nature of the crime is established. So the President does not have too much of a choice.

Clemency cannot be enforced in the name of anything. The trend we witness today is not healthy. The nation and its people have to be protected from dangerous forces and, therefore, caution should be the watchword on clemency.

R. Ramanathan,

Coimbatore

Is the constitutional power conferred on the President under Article 72 absolute? If yes, how can the judiciary entertain a petition against the President’s decision? Clemency is the legacy of British rulers. To save the President from possible adverse remarks by the judiciary and also to relieve him from the pressures of political, social, regional and other chauvinist groups while deciding on a mercy petition, the power to pardon should be transferred to a high-power Bench of the Supreme Court itself headed by the Chief Justice of India, by amending the Constitution.

Arulur N. Balasubramanian,

Chennai

There needs to be greater transparency while giving pardon to proven criminals. People, including myself, are not fully aware of the thought process that decides whether a convict can be pardoned. If a criminal is pardoned by the President, he will have to live the rest of his natural life repenting the crime. To me, that is harsher than the death penalty.

Ashwani Gupta,

Gurgaon

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