The mercy petition file of Afzal Guru was on Friday sent to the Union Home Ministry by Lieutenant Governor Tejinder Khanna, three weeks after he had received it from Delhi Government which had backed capital punishment for the Parliament attack convict. Although officials in Lt Governor's office remained tight lipped about Khanna's noting on the mercy petition, sources indicated that he has not objected to capital punishment given to the convict.
The city government, whose opinion was sought by the Home Ministry, had been dilly-dallying on the matter for nearly four years and the capital punishment given to Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab in the Mumbai attacks case brought the issue under fresh focus.
It was after the 16th reminder from the Union Home Ministry seeking its opinion that the city government sent the file to LG's office for him to take a call in the matter.
"The Lt Governor has sent the file pertaining to Afzal Guru's mercy petition to the Union Home Ministry for further action," a top government official told PTI. In its recommendations, Delhi Government had backed death sentence for Afzal Guru but with remarks that the implications of law and order should be closely examined while carrying out the execution. Asked whether she felt relieved as the file was finally sent to the Centre, Dikshit only said the President will take a final decision on the issue.
All the mercy petitions, under Article 72 of the constitution, are examined in the Ministry of Home Affairs in consultation with the concerned state governments or Union Territories. After examination, the case is submitted to the President's Secretariat for a final decision with the due recommendation of the Union Home Minister.
Guru was awarded death sentence by a Delhi court on December 18, 2002 after being convicted of conspiracy to attack Parliament on December 13, 2001, waging war against the country and murder. The death sentence was upheld by Delhi High Court on October 29, 2003 and his appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court two years later on August four, 2005. A sessions court also fixed the date of his hanging on October 20, 2006 in Tihar jail.
Following this, Afzal filed a mercy petition with the President, who forwarded it to Union Home Ministry for its comments. The Union Home Ministry had sent the file to Delhi Government's Home Department for its comments, as per the procedure.
Afzal Guru's hanging has been a major issue for a section in the Congress as well the BJP which have raised the matter numerous times in both houses of Parliament and the Delhi Assembly. PTI