The Union Home Ministry laid down guidelines for mercy petition on 11 February 2014. The Ministry spelt out the broad parameters for considering mercy petitions under Article 72 of the Constitution.
The guidelines comprises of long delays in investigations/trial as well as age and mental deficiency of the applicant and the grounds where clemency may be justified.
The guidelines issued are:
• Personality of the accused (age, sex or mental deficiency) or circumstances of the case (such as provocation).
• Cases in which appellate court has expressed its doubt as to reliability of the evidence but nevertheless decided on conviction.
• Cases where it is alleged that fresh evidence is obtainable, mainly with a view to seeing whether fresh enquiry is justified.
• Where the High Court has reversed on appeal an acquittal by a session judge or has on appeal enhanced the sentence.
• Difference of opinion in a Bench of two judges, necessitating reference to the third judge of the high court.
• Consideration of evidence in fixation of responsibility in gang murder cases.
• Long delays in investigations and trial etc.
The above guidelines are not specific but are rather in the form of broad guidelines. The specific guidelines could not be framed for examining mercy petitions due to vast majority of different type of cases and varied circumstances.