The Centre’s filed a petition questioning the decision pf the Tamil Nadu government to remit sentences of seven life convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and release them. The SC had stayed Tamil Nadu’s decision earlier. A 1993 Mumbai serial blast condemned prisoner Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, moved a mercy petition to the Maharashtra governor after a similar petition had been rejected by the President

Without referring to Yakub, a five-judge bench decided the question whether a person could endlessly move mercy petitions and whether it was proper for a condemned prisoner to petition the governor after his mercy plea was rejected by the President. It was argued that there was no bar under the law for a convict to move multiple mercy petitions.  But the bench was considering the awkward situation that could be created through such a practice which was not clearly what the Constitution maker has envisaged. This cyclic process of filing mercy petitions and moving the courts is meant to frustrate the process of law by not allowing a case to reach finality.

A second mercy petition is maintainable technically. Unless the second mercy petition contains new material or new grounds, it serves no purpose. The fact that 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon’s earlier petition was rejected by the UPA government is not a ground of substance. His second petition was substantially the same as the first petition filed by his brother on his behalf, which was rejected before the recent writ petitions were filed in the Supreme Court.