POCSO convicts should have no right to mercy petitions, says President

president ram nath kovind, pocso act, mercy petitions, parliament house, telangana police, hyderabad vet rape murder case, india news, indian express

President Ram Nath Kovind (Source: Twitter/President of India)

PRESIDENT RAM Nath Kovind said Friday that convicts under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act should be deprived of their right to file mercy petitions.

Addressing the National Convention on Empowerment of Women for Social Transformation at the headquarters of the Brahma Kumaris in Rajasthan’s Mount Abu, Kovind said: “Is prakaar ke jo convicts hote hain, unko samvidhan mein mercy petition ka adhikar diya gaya hai. Aur maine kaha hai ki is-par aap punarvichar karein. Ye mercy petition ke adhikar ko yadi aise cases mein... jo POCSO Act ke tehet jo ghatnayein hoti hai unko mercy petition ke adhikar se vanchit kar diya jaye. Unhein is prakar kisi bhi adhikar ki zarurat nahi hai (Such convicts have the right to a mercy petition in the Constitution. And I have said that you should reconsider this. The right of mercy petition should be deprived in cases under the POCSO Act. They don’t need any such rights).”

The President said this decision depends on Parliament because “a Constitutional amendment needs to be done”. “But now all our thoughts are going forward towards this direction,” he said.

The President also said that women’s safety is a very serious issue and incidents of “demonic attacks on daughters” shake the conscience of the country. He said it is the responsibility of every parent to instil the feeling of respect for women among boys.

On empowering women, Kovind said: “When you educate a boy, it benefits one family but when you educate a girl, the benefit goes to two families... the children of an educated woman do not remain uneducated.”

The President’s remarks came on the day Telangana Police said it had shot dead all the four accused in the gangrape and murder of a veterinary doctor on the outskirts of Hyderabad.