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Swift Rejection Of Mercy Petition Cannot Be A Ground For Judicial Review Of President 's Order: SC [Read Judgment]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
29 Jan 2020 7:39 AM GMT
Swift Rejection Of Mercy Petition Cannot Be A Ground For Judicial Review Of President

The Supreme Court has held that the quick consideration of the mercy petition and swift rejection of the same cannot be a ground for judicial review of the order passed under Article 72/161 of the Constitution.

Merely because there was quick consideration and rejection of the petitioner's mercy petition, it cannot be assumed that the matter was proceeded with pre-determined mind, the three judges bench headed by Justice R.Banumathi said while dismissing the writ petition filed by Mukesh Kumar, a death convict in Nirbhaya case.

One of the contentions taken in curative petition was that the mercy petition was sent to the Lieutenant Governor at "lightening speed" and on 16.01.2020, the Delhi Govt. recommended the rejection of petitioner's mercy petition in less than 24 hours and forwarded it to the President of India and the same was rejected by the President on 17.01.2020. It was submitted that there was non-application of mind in rejection of the mercy petition as the same has been rejected with "lightening speed" and with pre-determined mind.

While rejecting this argument, the bench, also comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna, observed:

As held by the Constitution Bench in Maru Ram and referred to Bikas Chatterjee, the court shall keep in mind that where the power is vested in a very high authority, it must be presumed that the said authority would act carefully after an objective consideration of all the aspects of the matter. As pointed out earlier, the note put up before the President of India is a detailed one and that all the relevant materials were placed before the President of India and upon consideration of the same, the mercy petition was rejected. Merely because there was quick consideration and rejection of the petitioner's mercy petition, it cannot be assumed that the matter was proceeded with pre-determined mind.
As rightly contended by the learned Solicitor General, delay in disposal of mercy petition may be a ground calling for judicial review of the order passed under Article 72/161 of the Constitution. But the quick consideration of the mercy petition and swift rejection of the same cannot be a ground for judicial review of the order passed under Article 72/161 of the Constitution. Nor does it suggest that there was pre-determined mind and non-application of mind.

Alleged sufferings in the prison cannot be a ground for judicial review

The court also observed that alleged sufferings in the prison cannot be a ground for judicial review of the executive order passed under Article 72 of the Constitution rejecting the petitioner's mercy petition. It was contended before the Court that he was beaten up in the prison and sexually harassed and was suffering everyday in the prison. Another contention was that he has been in solitary confinement for 08 months and 09 days. The bench, however, accepted the affidavit of Director General, Prisons who stated that, for security reasons, the convict was kept in one ward having multiple single rooms and barracks and the said single room had iron bars open to air and the same cannot be equated with solitary confinement/single cell.

Read Judgment


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