Can HC Review President’s Decision Rejecting Mercy Petition Of Death Convict: SC Issues Notice On Centre’s Plea In Sonu Sardar Case

Can HC Review President’s Decision Rejecting Mercy Petition Of Death Convict: SC Issues Notice On Centre’s Plea In Sonu Sardar Case

The Supreme Court has issued notice on the Centre’s special leave petition against the Delhi High Court’s judgment commuting death sentence of Sonu Sardar.

The Delhi High Court had quashed the President’s order rejecting mercy petition, and had commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment.

Sonu Sardar was convicted and sentenced to death for killing five members of a scrap dealer’s family in Chhattisgarh. His death penalty was upheld by the Supreme Court. The Governor and the President of India had rejected his plea to commute death sentence in the year 2013 and 2014, respectively. Read more about the case here.

The Union of India has challenged this judgment of Delhi High Court and questioned the power of the High Court to judicially review the decision of the President rejecting the plea to commute.

The petition, accessed by Live Law, read: “The question which would arise for consideration is as to whether a High Court would have jurisdiction at all, to entertain a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution to review the decision of the President of India under Article 72 of the Constitution in regard to a matter where the Supreme Court of India had finally confirmed the death sentence.”

The Union of India also contended that it is the Supreme Court alone, which should entertain petitions against the decision of the President under Article, after the Supreme Court has finally ruled on the death penalty. “It would be desirable that the Supreme Court of India finally sets at rest this issue of the High Court exercising jurisdiction in a matter where the Supreme Court of India and the President have held that the circumstances of the case would require the death sentence,” the petition read.

“The decision of the Governor/President being subjected to judicial review by the high court would add an extra stage to the process, before the final stage of judicial review by this Hon'ble Court. All this while, the sword of uncertainty would hang over the head of the accused - person/convict. It would, therefore, be in the interest of justice to avoid the extra stage of judicial review by the High Court, so as to shorten the period when the long process of the law and the Constitution takes, its course,” the petition read.

Read the Petition Here