Bengaluru: Earlier this year, the Narendra Modi-led Union government made a strong move to award death penalty to child rapists. The move was realised by making amendments to the POCSO Act. 

It also provided stringent punishments for other crimes against minors. 

The Act said, "It intends to protect the interests of vulnerable children in times of distress and ensures their safety and dignity. The amendment is aimed at establishing clarity regarding the aspects of child abuse and punishment thereof.”

Today (December 6) the President of India Ram Nath Kovind, in an event in Rajasthan said, "Rape convicts under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act should not be allowed mercy petition.” 

The President’s remark on the matter carries a lot of weight behind it and only adds fillip to the Modi government’s resolve to make the lives of children better. 

A lawyer, on conditions of anonymity said, “What the President said does make sense. If it is actually implemented, such a rule will deter such elements like rapists from such acts. It is important to create fear in the minds of such elements so that they don’t get away by performing such felonies.” 

The lawyer also noted that the procedure of filing mercy petitions and the President looking into it would certainly take a long time. If the Parliament does uphold the President’s suggestion, it would only hasten the process of delivering justice. 

It is pertinent here to note that the Union home ministry has sent a file recommending to the President not to honour the mercy petition of one of the convicts in the gang-rape case of Nirbhaya in the year 2012.  

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