Amritsar: A total of 121 death petitions involving more than 163 persons were disposed off by the President of India in the last 34 years.
In response to an RTI query, Ministry of Home Affairs (Judicial Division) said that since 1981, there were 124 cases, whereupon 90 cases were rejected and 31 were extended relief as their death sentences were condoned as commuted to life imprisonment, J P Agrawal, Joint Secretary, Judicial & CPIO said.
Three death petitions are still under examinations, one is of Balwant Singh Rajoana from Chandigarh and Tote Dewan from Assam; both filed in 2012 and that of Antony from Kerala whose petition was filed in 2013, he said.
Among the convicts waiting for the gallows, is Davinder Singh Bhullar of the Khalistan Liberation Force convicted for killing nine people and injuring 31 in a bomb blast in 1993. His mercy petition was filed in January 2003 and rejected on May 25, 2011 and is yet to be hanged. The petition of Balwantingh Rajoana, convicted for the assassination of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh on August 31, 1995, is still under examination, the RTI reply said.
However, no information was provided with regard to number of prisoners who were awarded death penalty but set free after mercy from the President of India, Aggarwal said. Whether the prisoners who were pardoned of death penalty; were set free or still behind the bars was also not provided by the Division.
Information regarding the number of death row prisoners confirmed by the Supreme Court of India, who have never sought mercy from the President was also left out from the RTI reply, with the authority stating that the concerned states may provide the details of the same.