President should automatically pardon convicts below 35 and above 50 years!

Justice (retd) M Katju's wants Sanjay Dutt pardoned. So, why not pardon all those below the age of 35 and above the age of 50 at the time of committing a crime, if they are not terrorists, requests former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, in an open letter to the President

Here is an open letter written by Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner, to Pranab Mukherjee, president about the ‘pardon for Sanjay Dutt’ episode that is being played continuously in the media by the Press Council chairman and few MPs and celebrities…


Dear Mr President,

I understand that worthy Members of Parliament (MPs) have sent petitions to you to use your powers of pardon under Article 72 of the Constitution. This plea is also reported to have been made by the Chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI), which is a statutory authority, and Ministers. The framers of the Constitution gave the President unfettered power to pardon any convict, without any reasons. It is also true that the Constitution did not specify who could ask for pardon.


However, Shri Markandey Katju, a former judge of the Supreme Court, and chairman of PCI would not ask for pardon without any reasons. He is reported to have stated that since Mr Sanjay Dutt was not convicted under TADA, he was not a terrorist. Besides, he has stated that since the trial has taken 20 years, and Mr Dutt was less than 40 years of age at that time, he should be pardoned. To maintain consistency, he has also stated that Smt. Zaibunisa should also be pardoned since she is over 70. Though Mr Dutt has in a dignified and logical manner stated that he is not seeking pardon, this mounting cacophony from lawyers, MPs and the head of an important statutory authority may lead you to consider using your powers to pardon.


Considering the impressive voices asking you to show mercy, you may be tempted by Portia’s lines:

“The quality of mercy is not strain'd, 
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven 
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: 
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes….

It is enthroned in the hearts of kings, 
It is an attribute to God himself; ”


to consider being blessed by showing mercy after some months.


The constant repetition to you to show mercy and gain the attributes of God may continue for months. Since I too was a statutory authority a few months ago, I would like to add my advice to this.  The fact that our Courts take decades to decide cases finally is well known. Everyone, including the Courts has convinced themselves that this can only deteriorate.


If you use the power of pardon this time, consider using it in a logical manner, which should not result in allegations of partisanship. By the logic given by Justice Katju, cases in Courts can take fifteen to twenty years, and humanitarian grounds demand that senior citizens should not be able to suffer in prison. On the other hand, people below 35 can make mistakes due to lack of maturity.


Taking this together, and to maintain consistency of action, I plead with you to consider recommending that all below the age of 35 and above the age of 50 at the time of committing a crime should be automatically pardoned under Article 72 of the Constitution, if they are not terrorists. It would look bad if you pardoned terrorists.


There are no conditions in the Constitution when the President can use this power, and I believe if you use it in the manner suggested above, it will also reduce the burden on the judicial system. You could consider this act to be in larger public interest.


The reduction of cases in the Courts, will lead to establishing the rule of law in our Nation, and Citizens will not have to complain any longer that ‘Justice delayed is Justice Denied.’


You may then find justification in using the power of pardon under Article 72 in a Historic manner.


Yours truly,

Shailesh Gandhi

Former Central Information Commissioner

Vinay Joshi
1 decade ago
Markandey Katju, J; PCI,CM, was in Bombay on 30th, to deliver the Justice M.C Chagla, Memorial Lecture.

He had sought an appointment with the state CM, week in advance, it was declined.

It probably seems to be nemesis of the University of Bombay, not knowing what MC Chagla stood for!

As per his talk on the subject of 'Ancient Indian Jurisprudence & Modern Jurisprudence', he contradicts himself.
Irrespective these few outbursts lasted for 'the subject' only for say an hour or less. The subject he is supposed to talk.

Then for virtually hour and a half he took dig at Anna Hazare & Kejriwal to put forth his own interpretations in the said lecture.

In the said lecture he has stated that 'India is backward a country',coz they believe in 'godmen'. He mixed cast of franchise on communal & cast basis.

Further he goes on to question Kejriwal as to 'which cast his party represents'?

He expressed that 'seeking publicity - is vulgarity', controversies chase him.

I think in the first place MC Chagla may have shuddered in his grave with the fraternity persona talking & NOT UPHOLDING HIS PRINCIPLES!? [J; Chagla's].

The learned counsel & later Justice MC Chagla never ever would have dreamt of such a pardon though J; Katju has not spoken about it in thre said lecture & had skirted it on the sidelines.

Further two more jocular persons arrive in Bombay - ousted SP stalwart Amar Singh & RS,MP Jaya Pradha, -- petition the Mah, Guv, knowing very well a futile an exercise. It's not the state subject.

The Guv; promptly forwarded the said petition to the HMin, after hearing them in person.

IF ANY PARDON, it will be mockery of justice,jurisprudence & of the third estate.

Astutely J; Katju has avoided it.

If any pardon under Art.72, the power follows a will of the wisp. Krishna Iyer, J; had stated it in 1980 [Maru Ram.] Are there others equally placed in the justice? Clemency can be endless a list.

Neither the constitutional text nor principle prevents the Constitutional Head, to examine case[s] but will be constrained to put a ‘singular’ or ‘select’ pardon.

The convict Sanjay, case is weak against a capricious pardoning law.

The President Hon. Mukherjee was in Bangladesh, a file was send to him about appointment of state Min of Textile, so the LS questions could be answered.

The Hon.Prez, send it back, reprimanded the executive, signed it only on his return to India.


P.S. no point in further discussing, i'll put up in please do respond to that.

No doubt that J; Katju had given interventionist judgement's; but now he is not same. The convict Sanjay was to join SP & wearing red cap had his own retraction! WHY?

1 decade ago
My sentiments exactly
1 decade ago
My sentiments exactly
nagesh kini
1 decade ago
In entire agreement with Shaileshbhai.
The Hon.ex.justice needs restraint.
1 decade ago
Now, the Govt., should take decisions which are really for the benefit of the public-real benefit means real benefit, not otherwise/PROPOSALS should be such or the ruling party should desist from wrong proposals, actions speak themselves.
A S Bhat
1 decade ago
It is a pity that a former judge of the supreme court of India is issuing such statements left right and centre. May be he has his own reasons,

Amit Bhargava
1 decade ago
Wow ! Food for thought... Mr. President.
1 decade ago
They are actually moles those advocating such absurd proposals are planted by the ruling party to save their skins.
1 decade ago
Are politicians so much afraid that they are coming with absurd ideas through backdoor, seeing that what is the acceptability of the backdoor proposal, feel all have lost mental balance-made pardon a mockery.
Mukund Parikh
1 decade ago
Law should be applicable equally irrespective to anything.Guilty has to be punished. It is generally believed that law doesn't punish any innocent. Any such suggestions shall be surely mis-used.
Mukund Parikh
[email protected]
Replied to Mukund Parikh comment 1 decade ago
Will it apply equally, heard that might is right and seeing that is happening.
1 decade ago
An excellent piece of satire about Justice Katju's uncalled for benevolence. I wish Mr. Gandhi made some comment, in similar lines about the "Finish the Consumer Movement" penned after being denied justice by the Supreme Court.
Vinay Joshi
Replied to Vaidyanathan comment 1 decade ago
Dear Mr.B Vaidynathan,

Yes, the aspects is direct question [if you read my two earlier posts]My open letter.

1] PCI,CM, who propped him up?
2] As PCI CM, who propped hin to issue the st?
3] He has freeway to state 'its his st!

Mr.Vaidya, kindly excuse me i didn't write back to you, i'll send you a mail.

1 decade ago
No other compliment can be as eloquent as the left handed compliment Shri Shailesh Gandhi has paid to Shri Katju. The hollowness contained in Shri Katju's arguments for pardon to Sanjay Dutt has been brought out succinctly. Well done Mr S Gandhi.
1 decade ago
POUND OF FLESH....???...ALA....SHYLOCK....!......PORTIA ,....WHO?//
Suman Mukherjee
1 decade ago
//The article was written sarcastically to ridicule the pleas for pardon. I was trying to show, that if pardoning Sanjay Dutt was considered, it would result in pardoning everyone under 35. It was also meant to draw attention to the fact that powerful criminals should not be let off//

Mr.Gandhi, I ridiculed your take earlier, because I do not move with fanatic crowd, I hold my own opinion, in all circumstances. I would continue to do the same, as I had done earlier. I am a Hindu Brahmin so my thought process might be different than a Bania (Business Commuity)---if we speak of genetic factors. This might sound racial, but I have spoken the truth. Every looks at the things, through the glass they are made to wear since childhood. This has lot of do with ones upbringings and their cultural background. Anyway, this was just another point which I wanted to highlight.

Now coming back to the main topic let me state that when you used the word "Criminal" for Sanjay Dutt, instead of a more sober word, "Convict", it actually portrayed your intention and your motive for writing such a puerile article, after occupying such a high position.

Now let me come to the main point. If you say none can be pardoned, then it is better we go for a constitutional mandate to satisfy some insane, who wants to convert our democracy into a military state where the chance of pardon by the state gets abolished. At least the majority of this country, I believe would be satisfied and since democracy does give importance, to majority rule, some of you can thump your chests.

Now coming to this case specifically, we can say that, in spite of persons like you getting cheers and jeers from a section of the audience, I feel, that pardoning Sanjay Dutt will do more good to the country than not doing the same. He is not an ordinary citizen and cutting of his productive power will be CRIME and WASTE of talent, according to me. His films invariably bring foreign exchange, which is so necessary now when India is facing huge CAD (Current Account Deficit). Also, his films give lot of employment to people, which indirectly brings tax to the government exchequer. If he was an ordinary criminal, with no work no credibility, then the things would have been different. Your lateral thinking has made, everyone possessing a contraband gun, same. Are all GANDHIs and BASUs in this world have the same calibre and temperament? Just ask yourself.

Instead of looking at the points at what are the causes that led Sanjay Dutt going for such extreme steps, you unfortunately took the much easier/short cut childish route, which was unusual for a person adorning such high chair. You should have presented a different view, away from the masses.

India is technically illiterate 90%, so many will go for your take, when even in the US, there are voices, who talks of such brutal methods of jurisprudence.

Sanjay Dutt is not a criminal in the true sense of the term. He actually kept the arms, just for his personal security, but in the process, he broke law. Hence, his case should be taken differently than those who worked for the cause of Bombay blast and executed it.

Yes, it was a blunder for him, to go for such dangerous weapons instead of asking the government to beef up his security, but there should be an end to this nonsense of looking every case of the arms act, with the same eye.

It is because of this kind of situations that our Constitution has special provisions, where something out of box can be done by the legislatures.

Our democracy is not all about Judiciary only, there is also, Executive and Legislature. If you want have a lame-duck democracy, then sorry, you can have your thoughts to yourselves. But we the free thinking people will always oppose such Stalinist views, which would made India into an Islamic state, which supports Beheading, Cutting of limbs, Stoning, and all those ghastly acts, which the world has rejected long back.

I therefore, again reject your hackneyed and sub-standard piece, and humbly and respectfully ask the Governor of Maharashtra to PARDON Sanjy Dutt and show that our democracy is vibrant and kicking.

I would therefore, ask only to go back to the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, etc, to understand the essence of Hinduism. 1000 years of Slavery of Islamic Rulers and British has made us forget the real essence of Hinduism.


Replied to Suman Mukherjee comment 1 decade ago
If promised pardon, the hardcore criminals languishing in jails and those hiding abroad would bring back huge foreign exchange to reduce the current account deficit substantially. Similarly, the looters of national wealth and stashing black money abroad would be willing to do so. And by the way, how Sanjay Dutt's case is different from other first time convicts?
Nitin Sanzgiri
Replied to Suman Mukherjee comment 1 decade ago
Dear Mr. Mukherjee,
Going by your logic a dishonest businessman who violates laws and does not pay his taxes should not be punished because he employs several people and earns foreign exchange for the country. You are "cutting off his productive power" aren't you?
Replied to Suman Mukherjee comment 1 decade ago
Respected Mukherjee

Nathuram Godse was a brahmin !
Replied to Suman Mukherjee comment 1 decade ago
Wow Mr.Suman Mukherjee, even being Brahmin, your thoughts of counting foreign exchange is like BANIAS only. Thank GOD, India is technically illiterate 90 percent & not like rest of you 10 percent. Anyway Mr. Shailesh Gandhi, no point in putting your matter in front of these 10 percent people. We always look forward for good work done by you
1 decade ago
Looks like you have a lot of tube light followers. But a great sattarical article. But the President himself falls in the Katju category
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