On 22 January, the Centre moved the Supreme Court seeking “victim-centric” guidelines in cases where the convicts have been given the death penalty. Further, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Ministry of Home Affairs pursued the SC for modification of Shatrughan Chauhan’s judgment which cited the rights available to death row convicts.
Citing the delay in execution of the convicts in Nirbhaya case, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday also sought the SC to provide guidelines for a death row convict to file mercy plea within seven days from the date of receipt of a death warrant. The government further observed that the current rules are skewed in favor of the convicts, as they allowed them to “play with the law and delay execution”.
“The Nirbhaya case has been heard thrice by the lower court, the Delhi High Court and the SC. The SC should use some special powers to set some time-limit for filing applications. It is not about Nirbhaya, but even other daughters too. We request it to frame guidelines so that Nirbhaya and other daughters get justice in a time-bound manner,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in its application to SC.
Earlier in 2014, the Supreme Court in Shatrughan Chauhan vs Union of India held that “A minimum period of 14 days must be stipulated between the receipt of communication of the rejection of the mercy petition and the scheduled date of execution of the death row convicts for the reasons that it allows the prisoner to prepare himself mentally for execution, to make his peace with God, prepare his will, settle other earthly affairs and further to have a last and final meeting with his family members.
The Centre further submitted that the offense of rape is not only a criminal offense defined in the Indian Penal Code but also the most horrific and unpardonable offense in any civilized society which is not only against an individual and society but also against humanity.