The status of the mercy petitions of four death row convicts in Bihar is shrouded in mystery as the Centre and State governments remain clueless.
Recently, the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of 15 death row convicts, including those convicted under the stringent Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, citing delay in disposal of their pleas.
However, the petitions of Krishna Mochi, Nanhe Lal Mochi, Bir Kuer Paswan and Dharmendra Singh alias Dharu Singh, who were also tried under TADA in the 1992 Bara massacre case, seem to be untraceable.
“We sent the original copy of the petitions to the State government and we did not keep a copy,” B.C.P. Singh, Director, Industries, under the Inspectorate of Prisons and Correctional Services, told The Hindu .
A letter sent by the Inspectorate to the government of India, dated May 13, 2013, lists the names of the four convicts as those whose petitions are still pending. Asked about the status of the petitions, the Ministry of Home Affairs told The Hindu on Friday that it had no knowledge of having received them.
“They could be pending with the Governor,” a department official said.
“The State and the Governor have no jurisdiction because this is a TADA case,” said Yug Chaudhry, one of the lawyers representing the 15 prisoners in the recent Supreme Court case. “It will come under the Central government.”
Mr. Chaudhry also referred to a Right to Information query on pending mercy petitions, filed by a set of lawyers. The statement of pending mercy petitions obtained under RTI in 2011 does not mention the four convicts.