Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi has appealed to the President to reconsider Yakub Memon’s mercy petition. This, he feels, will be a fitting tribute to former President, late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, given the latter’s opposition to capital punishment.
In his appeal, Gandhi reminded the President that earlier this month Dr. Kalam had reiterated his objections to ‘hanging till death’. “He expressed this opinion to the Law Commission, which has been holding deliberations regarding the desirability and efficacy of the death penalty. It would, I suggest, be a fitting tribute to the humane legacy of president Kalam to grant Yakub Memon his life, for which course there are also other compelling reasons”, Gandhi wrote.
Memon’s mercy plea was rejected last year by the President. Making a fresh appeal in the case, Gandhi also cited a 1997 case when the then president Shankar Dayal Sharma revoked the earlier decision and commuted death penalty of two boys from Andhra Pradesh on the appeal of Mahasweta Devi and other eminent citizens, on the eve of their scheduled execution.
Gopalkrishna Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, also evoked, “the supreme constituent power of the President of India under Article 73 of the Constitution” to commute death sentences.
Making a case against Memon’s hanging, Gandhi said, “Yakub Memon submitted to Indian jurisdiction, when he may quite easily have evaded justice. A respected officer of Indian intelligence has spoken of his cooperation with the law, thus rendering the death penalty completely inappropriate in this case. Former Supreme Court judges have openly said that his execution would be unjust”.