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No mercy plea for rape convicts under POCSO, says President Ram Nath Kovind

President Ram Nath Kovind today in an event suggested that anyone convicted under the POCSO Act that seeks to protect children from sexual abuse, should not be allowed to file mercy plea.

“Women safety is a serious issue. Rape convicts under POCSO Act should not have the right to file a mercy petition. Parliament should review mercy petitions,” President Kovind said at an event in Rajasthan’s Sirohi

The president was speaking at Brahmakumaris world headquarter where he inaugurated their two-day National convention on ‘Empowerment of Women for Social Transformation’.

“Incidents of demonic attacks on women have shaken the conscience of the country,” President Kovind said on a day the Telangana Police shot dead four accused in Hyderabad 26-year-old veterinarian rape-murder case after they allegedly tried to escape during a visit to the crime scene for reconstruction.

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) aims to shield minors from sexual abuse and exploitation through less ambiguous and more stringent legal provisions.

Earlier, Home Ministry in agreement with the Delhi government’s recommendation to reject the mercy plea of one of the accused in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, forwarded the file to him.

The government led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had rejected the mercy plea. Last week he told the media that “I think there should be strict actions in such cases so that it acts as a deterrent to the criminals. This is why the Delhi government recommended that the President should not show any leniency in this case,” he added.

Vinay Sharma, one of the convicts facing the death sentence for the rape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedic student, had filed the mercy plea before the President.

The paramedic was returning home with a friend after watching a film in south Delhi in December 2012 when they boarded a bus.

Five men and a juvenile were on the bus, who raped and tortured her to the death and then dumped them on the road on a cold December night.

All the five accused were convicted and sentenced to death. The minor was sent to a juvenile home and released under the law applicable for his age. One of the five men killed himself in jail. Of the four left, only one applied for the mercy plea.

The rejection of the mercy plea of the Nirbhaya gang rape has taken a centre-stage at a time when there is nationwide outrage over the gang rape and murder of a 26-year-old veterinarian in Hyderabad.

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