They were sentenced to death in October 2001
The mercy petition of two men from Karnataka, on death row for raping and murdering a teenage girl, has been rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee, setting the stage for their execution.
Shivu and Jadeswamy were sentenced to death for rape and murder of 18-year-old girl on October 15, 2001. It was the girl’s mother who spotted the body of her daughter in an agricultural field. Some villagers subsequently nabbed the duo and handed them over to the police.
Their conviction in 2005 was upheld by the Karnataka High Court in 2005 and reconfirmed in 2007. Sentencing them to death, the Chamarajanagar District and Sessions Court had said they were “devils in human form”.
They had, on two other occasions, tried to molest the sister of the victim and another woman.
The Union Home Ministry had, in April this year, forwarded their recommendation to the President, advising him to reject their plea. Officials said the President recently cleared the file rejecting the mercy petition, concurring with the Home Ministry’s advice.
Recently, two fresh mercy petitions were filed by Shivu’s mother and members of the Badrayyanahalli Kuratti Hosur gram panchayat.
The convicts can now approach the Supreme Court for a judicial review of the decision to reject the mercy petition. The Supreme Court had earlier ruled that courts cannot go into the merits of the President’s mercy decision, but can examine whether the President has considered all the relevant materials, and order a fresh consideration if it emerges that he left out some of them.
With this, Mukherjee has rejected 11 mercy petitions of 17 people. According to officials, there is no mercy petition pending with the President’s office right now.
Mukherjee has cleared a number of petitions that had been pending for some time, including those of 26/11 Mumbai attack convict Ajmal Kasab and Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
According to an RTI reply in March this year, the President’s office had rejected three-fourths of the 112 mercy petitions of death row convicts between 1981 and 2013.