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NHRC wants status of ‘lost’ mercy petition of death row convict

GUWAHATI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday directed the Union Home Secretary to submit a status report on the missing mercy petition of death row convict Holiram Bordoloi of Assam within four weeks.

As per the RTI reply of Assam Inspector General of Prisons, the mercy petition of condemned prisoner Bordoloi was forwarded to the President on April 18, 2005, and to the Assam Judicial Department on June 17, 2005.

Though a reply received from office of the Assam Inspector General of Prisons in July 2013 states that the mercy petition is still pending with the President, the “list of mercy petition cases since 1981” received by the President from the Union Home Ministry does not bear the name of Bordoloi.

This established that the mercy petition of Holiram Bordoloi had been lost and was not considered at all in the last nine years, according to the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR).

“The loss of mercy petition of condemned prisoner Holiram Bordoloi once again establishes the absolute callousness of the Government of India while considering the mercy pleas. This blatant abuse of power given to the President of India must be adjudicated by the judicial and quasi-judicial bodies. Further, accountability for gross dereliction of duty and shameful acts such as losing mercy petitions must be established,” said ACHR director Suhas Chakma.

“The death sentence of Holiram Bordoloi must also be commuted to life imprisonment,” Chakma demanded, citing the judgement of the Supreme Court in the Shatrughan Chauhan case in which death sentences were commuted on the ground of inordinate delay in rejection of mercy pleas.

Holiram Bordoloi was one of the accused in connection with the killing of three persons at Nayagaon under Boribazar Outpost in Morigaon district in Assam on November 26, 1996. He was awarded the death sentence by the sessions court on May 5, 2003.

The Gauhati High Court confirmed the death sentence on March 9, 2004. On April 8, 2005, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence.

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