President Kovind says rape convicts under POCSO should not have right to file mercy petition

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Published: December 6, 2019 3:56 PM

Presently, all the convicts regardless of their crime have the right to request for mercy to the Governor in the state and to the President at the Centre.

Ram Nath Kovind, pocso, POCSO Act, mercy petition,  mercy plea, kovind on mercy petition, hyderabad rape muder, unnao rape casePresident Ram Nath Kovind. (PTI)

President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday suggested that rape convicts under the POCSO Act should not have the right to file a mercy petition. He said the Parliament should review and do away with mercy petitions. “Women safety is a serious issue. Rape convicts under POCSO Act should not have the right to file mercy petition. Parliament should review mercy petitions,” President Kovind said while speaking at an event in Sirohi, Rajasthan.

The President’s statement comes amid a spate of reports of rape from across the country. In just a week’s time, two gruesome incidents took place — the Hyderabad rape and murder, and the Unnao attack where a rape survivor was set ablaze. In the second case, it has been reported that five people were allegedly involved in the crime, one of them being the man whom the girl had accused of rape.

This incident triggered a massive outrage with a section of people blaming the judicial process that is unusually slow, thereby putting victims at risk of such attacks. The President today suggested that mercy petition should be done away with, but only in POCSO cases. The POCSO Act was enacted to protect the children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography with due regard for safeguarding the interest of children.

Presently, all the convicts regardless of their crime have the right to request for mercy to the Governor in the state and to the President at the Centre. The Constitution empowers the Governor to pardon the convicts under Article 72 and the President can do so under Article 161.

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