Parliament attack convict Guru plea with MHA for Shinde view

While Ajmal Kasab's mercy petition was swiftly disposed of both by the President's office and the MHA, Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's plea is still doing the rounds between North Block and Rashtrapati Bhavan.

President Pranab Mukherjee recently sent back seven mercy petition files, including that of Afzal Guru, to the Union Home Ministry seeking a fresh view of new Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde. Two of the pending petitions were withdrawn by the MHA earlier, while two await the President's decision, said officials.

Union Home Secretary R K Singh said, "We have received seven mercy petitions including that of Afzal Guru. They are being examined further." Sources in the MHA said the petitions will be evaluated by Shinde, who will comment on the recommendations made on these pleas during the tenure of his predecessor P Chidambaram.

There was also a doubt in Mukherjee's mind relating to the seven petitions after some retired judges sought to know if the MHA had taken into consideration mental condition of the death row convicts while recommending rejection of mercy pleas.

However, senior officials said it was a normal procedure for the President to refer all pending mercy petitions for consideration of a new Home Minister after he takes charge.

All the seven mercy petitions were sent to the President, incorporating the opinion of the state governments concerned and the Home Ministry's recommendation, for final disposal.

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