Consider the following statements with respect to the mercy petitions in India:
1. A mercy petition can be filed only by Indian Citizens
2. There is no time limit for the president to respond on the mercy petition
3. The mercy petition is subject to Judicial Review
4. In India, the only authority to decide on mercy petitions is the President
Which among the above statements is / are correct?

Answer: [C] Only 2 & 3 are correct

  • Anybody, including foreign nationals, can send a mercy petition with regard to such a person to the President. President is not the only authority and mercy pleas can also be sent to the Governors, cannot pardon a death sentence but can suspend, remit or commute a sentence of death.
  • There is no maximum time-limit within which a mercy petition has to be decided.
  • President bound to act in accordance of advice of Council of Ministers. MHA recommends the President as what to be done with a mercy petition. Under the settled law, including judgments of the Supreme Court, the President is bound by the advice of the Union council of ministers while deciding mercy petitions.
  • The recommendation of the MHA can be accepted as the view of the entire council of ministers on the subject because under the Transaction of Business Rules of the Government of India, the MHA is the Ministry charged with making recommendations with regard to mercy petitions by those on death row. In one case, then Former President Kalam had returned the file of a convict, saying he didn’t agree with the recommendation of the MHA with regard to that particular case.
  • He was of the view that the convict deserved to get his death sentence commuted to life without parole. However, the MHA refused to abide by his view.
  • Mercy petition is subject to Judicial Review.

This question is a part of GKToday's Integrated IAS General Studies Module