Power to grant clemency should be used judicially: Parl panel

The power to grant clemency should be used judiciously and mercy petitions should generally not be considered in cases of rape and murder, a Parliamentary panel is learnt to have suggested.

It also believed to have said the reasons for granting clemency should also be made public as in the case of awarding death sentence by courts which is open for public scrutiny.

Parliament's Standing Committee on Home while recommending changes to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2012, felt that discretionary power to grant clemency should be used judiciously, particularly in cases when the courts at the higher levels have upheld death sentence, according to sources.

Though the issue of clemency was not part of its mandate, the panel made suggestions after some members raised the matter, they said.

The report of the committee was adopted yesterday and it is likely to be tabled in Parliament this week.

The committee felt that application for clemency should generally not be considered in rape and murder cases. The committee also felt that mercy petitions should be disposed of expeditiously.

Under the Constitution, the President's clemency powers can only be exercised under the advice of the government.

Article 72 gives power to the President to grant pardons, and to suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases.

"The President shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence," it says.

The panel did not give details of rape and murder cases in which clemency had been granted, the sources said.

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