President Pranab Mukherjee has sent back seven mercy petition files, including that of Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru, to Union home ministry seeking a re-look at its opinion.
The new home minister, Sushilkumar Shinde will look into the petitions so as to reconfirm the recommendations made by his predecessor, P Chidambaram.
Delhi govt backs its recommendation on Afzal's mercy petition
"We stand by our recommendation that his mercy petition should be rejected," Delhi Chief Secretary P K Tripathi said when asked about Afzal's case.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, however, declined to comment saying the matter has to be decided by the President.The calls for Afzal's hanging grew louder after the execution of Kasab today, with opposition BJP leading the charge.
With focus back on Afzal Guru following hanging of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, the Delhi government said it stands by its recommendation for rejection of the mercy petition filed by the Parliament attack convict on death row.
Kasab was executed on Wednesday after President rejected Kasab's mercy petition.
Official sources said it was a normal procedure for the President to refer all pending mercy petitions for consideration to a new Home Minister after he takes charge.
Since Sushilkumar Shinde took charge as a Home Minister on August 1, the seven mercy petitions, including that of Guru, were sent to him for consideration, they said.
Shinde himself refused to say anything on when a decision on Guru would be taken, hours after the operation to execute the lone surviving Pakistani gunman in the Mumbai attack was carried out in secrecy.
Two of the pending petitions were withdrawn by the MHA earlier, while two await the President's decision.
Earlier some retired judges sought from MHA if they had taken into consideration mental condition of the death row convicts while recommending rejection of his mercy plea.
While External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said by executing Kasab, India "has sent out a clear message to the world", top Government sources indicated that a decision could be taken soon on Parliament House attack case convict Afzal Guru .
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh also wanted thegovernment to "expedite" the decision on the issue of AfzalGuru, who was sentenced to death in 2004.The Delhi government in May, 2010 had cleared the file onAfzal's mercy petition recommending its rejection.
Afzal was handed the death sentence by a Delhi court on December 18, 2002 after being convicted of conspiracy to attack Parliament on December 13, 2001 and waging war against India and murder. The death sentence was upheld by the Delhi High Court on October 29, 2003. His appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court two years later on August 4, 2005.