President rejected mercy petitions of Nithari killer Surinder Koli and 5 others

Jul 19, 2014 12:12 IST

Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India on 18 July 2014 rejected the mercy petitions of Nithari serial killer Surinder Koli and five other death row convicts. These five death row convicts are Renukabai and Seema (Maharashtra), Koli (Uttar Pradesh), Rajendra Pralhadrao Wasnik (Mahasrashtra), Jagdish (Madhya Pradesh) and Holiram Bordoloi (Assam).

The President rejected the mercy petitions of the six death row convicts on the advice of the Union Home Ministry which rejected the mercy petitions of all the convicts on 18 June 2014.

The six death row convicts may still challenge the rejection of their mercy petition on the grounds of inordinate delay. In February 2014, the SC bench had commuted the death sentence of 15 convicts to life imprisonment on the grounds of inordinate delay and mental illness. Though the SC bench had not quantified the inordinate delays but in all the cases the delay ranged from 7 to 11 years.

In at least two cases, the gap between upholding of death sentence and rejection of clemency plea is not more than three years so in any case these cases might not qualify under inordinate delay. These relate to upholding of death sentence by SC of Surinder Koli in 2011 and that of Wasnik in 2012.

As for the other cases, the death penalty for the two sisters was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 2006 and that Holiram Bordoloi in 2005. t will be interestingly to see whether this is viewed as "inordinate" delay on part of the Executive in deciding their mercy pleas.

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