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Centre to SC: No further mercy plea after President’s rejection

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that after a mercy petition by a death row convict is rejected by the President, it cannot be moved afresh before the governor of a state unless there were entirely new grounds.

Telling this to the Constitution bench comprising Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said that unless this was halted at some point, the President’s decision to reject a mercy petition would not attain finality.

Describing the law as “unsound”, the Solicitor General told the court that a death row convict may move the governor on fresh grounds but it will not be backed by law.

The Solicitor General made the submission after he was asked whether a death row convict could seek mercy from the governor for the second time.

The question raised by the bench assumes significance in the wake of a fresh mercy petition filed by 1993 Mumbai bomb blast death row convict Yakub Memon before the Maharashtra governor after his curative petition was rejected by the apex court on Tuesday.

Finding some ambiguity in the procedure, the court asked the Solicitor General if it should lay guidelines in this regard or was there a procedure formulated by the home ministry.

The Solicitor General said that after the executive actions – the President or governor deciding on a mercy petition – and the apex court deciding the matter and commuting the death sentence, there should be no further question of remission of sentence of the convict.

The bench was hearing a reference by a three-judge bench on the question whether after the commutation of death sentence into life imprisonment, the state government could further grant remission of sentence to release the assassins of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

One of the seven questions framed by the bench of then chief justice P. Sathasivam, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice N.V. Ramana in their April 25, 2014, judgment was whether after commutation of the death sentence, the government can go further granting them remission and releasing them.

The question was rooted in the conflicting positions taken by the Centre and the Tamil Nadu governments on whether Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins or similarly placed convicts be granted remission and consequent release.

The Constitution bench was further asked to examine whether there could be a special category wherein after death penalty has been commuted, such a convict is put beyond the applicability of remission of sentence and he would remain behind bars in excess of a life term of 14 years.

(With inputs from IANS)

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PM Modi pays tribute to Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 72nd Birth Anniversary

Rajiv Gandhi, born on August 20, 1944, served as the sixth Prime Minister of India from 1984 to 1989

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Mani Ram Bagri with Rajiv Gandhi and others. Source: wikimedia commons

NEW DELHI, August 20, 2016: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday paid tribute to former premier Rajiv Gandhi on his 72nd birth anniversary.

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“Remembering former PM Rajiv Gandhi Ji on his birth anniversary,” Modi tweeted.

Rajiv Gandhi, born on August 20, 1944, served as the sixth Prime Minister of India from 1984 to 1989. He took office after the assassination of his mother, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984.

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Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in a suicide bombing at Tamil Nadu’s Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991. (IANS)

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AAP, BJP Sikh leaders release Rajiv Gandhi’s video ‘justifying’ 1984 riots

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New Delhi: Demanding that former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s Bharat Ratna award be withdrawn, AAP leader and senior advocate HS Phoolka and BJP’s RP Singh on Thursday released the old video of the former wherein he can be seen justifying the 1984 anti-Sikh riots following the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi saying “when a big tree falls, the earth shakes”.

The video was released by Phoolka and Singh on Indira Gandhi’s birth anniversary on Thursday during a press conference in New Delhi.

Phoolka has been fighting for securing justice for 1984 Sikh riots victims. He demanded that Rajiv Gandhi’s Bharat Ratna Award be withdrawn for his provocative remarks, accusing him of justifying the 1984 ‘genocide’, The Indian Express reported.

“In 1984, on this day, nation’s prime minister had justified the killing of 3, 000 Sikhs in his address at the boat club in the national capital. He had said that when a big tree falls then the earth shakes. Instead of punishing the culprits of such mass murder, he was justifying it,” said Phoolka.

“A Prime Minister who takes three years even to count the dead bodies of innocent citizens killed in open broad daylight in the capital, a Prime Minister whose party was responsible for a massacre, cannot be a Bharat Ratna. We demand Rajiv Gandhi’s Bharat Ratna’s be taken back,” he said.

Meanwhile, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said Indira Gandhi taught the nation to stay united and people must follow that path.

“We must learn as much as we can from the life of Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Maulana Azad…Indira Gandhi taught us how to stand united,” the Congress president said in her speech to commemorate the 98th birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi at the Indian Youth Congress convention here.

“She dedicated her life to the unity of our country,” she said.

Sonia Gandhi said the late prime minister always stood for inclusion and equality, and lauded her for her farsightedness and ushering in Green Revolution in India.

(With inputs from IANS)

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The ‘falling tree’ of 1984 Sikh Riot

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New Delhi: At a time when 1984 Sikh riot is still haunting the Congress party and creating quite a flutter in the capital, political majors have pounced on the issue of riots to garner political mileage out of it.

The political parties don’t appear to ever miss an opportunity to use riots for channelizing support in their favor. For instance, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently lamented that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a victim of political intolerance since the Gujarat riots.

In order to silence the opposition chorus on the intolerance tune, Modi took a swipe at Sonia Gandhi for her party’s role in the Sikh riots. The Congress too, in order to gain some lost ground, lambasted the government’s inability in containing the ongoing unbridled religious intolerance across India.

Amid the furore, the Delhi government on Sunday initiated the process of disbursing compensation cheques to the victims of the 1984 Sikh riots. Around 3200 victimized families would be compensated. This too appears to be a political move rather than humanitarian, given the present situation where every media house and political party is engaged in making the other look communal.

But have the moves or mud throwing among the political parties provided any solace to the riot victims?

“When a big tree falls, earth around it shakes a bit.” The historic comment by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi still revitalises horrendous memories among the victims. While the victims of violence are still waiting for justice, the political parties seem to rake up the issue for their personal vendetta. Victims of the massacre have obvious reasons to consider Rajiv’s statement as a prophecy that Sikhs would not get justice. Indeed, 30 years have passed and Sikhs continue to await justice.

Despite Rajiv Gandhi’s statement drawing flak, a faction still considers the statement as a natural reaction of a son who lost a mother who was a colossal leader. But isn’t it the time to forget and forgive?

No! For the riot-ravaged Sikhs, it was a strategic speech that nearly wiped out the Sikh community from the capital.

The “falling tree” legitimized violence against the religious minorities by a government who asserts the claims of being secular.

It is difficult to comment on whether the candle light marches, the sit-in protests, the fiery speeches of the ministers will wipe the tears of the victims. But yes, these incidents and their justifications would definitely remind the world that India has always been a Hindu state under the mask of a secular nation.

The pangs of violence and sufferings of riots will always haunt the Indian psyche despite the relentless efforts by the power-hungry politicians to hush up things.

(Picture Courtesy: www.indianexpress.com)