Goa governor urged not to pardon MLA

Panaji, Aug 4 (IANS) The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and government employees on Tuesday petitioned Goa Governor Mridula Singh, asking her not to approve the cabinet’s decision to pardon former minister Francisco Mickky Pacheco.

Pacheco, a legislator, is currently serving a six-month sentence for assaulting a government servant.

The Goa Government Employees Association (GGEA) in its petition to Sinha expressed fears that if Pacheco is pardoned despite assaulting a government servant, then officials “who go strictly by the rule books will be slapped, kicked and abused if they do not listen to the orders of elected representatives”.

“There will be lawlessness in the state of Goa as far as government servants are concerned,” president of the association John Nazareth said in the petition.

He also called the cabinet’s decision to seek pardon for the Nuvem legislator a regressive one.

Goa’s deputy chief minister Francis D’Souza has also called the act of slapping a government servant a “minor offence” while justifying the cabinet decision to pardon Pacheco.

The state cabinet in an unprecedented and unanimous decision on July 29 had resolved to grant pardon to Pacheco, a former Archives and Archaeology minister, who is currently serving a six-month sentence for assaulting a junior engineer of the state electricity department.

The cabinet’s decision has been sent to Goa Governor Mridula Sinha for assent.

Under Article 161 of the constitution, a governor of a state has the power to pardon suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases.

The assault case was booked in 2006 but Pacheco was sentenced to six months imprisonment, only after the Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s verdict earlier this year.

The AAP argued in its petition that the pardon would set a dangerous precedent of elected representatives using the same route to escape penal punishment.

“If this pardon is granted on the basis that Pacheco is an MLA and has responsibilities to his constituents, it would be the biggest threat to the rule of law, implying that law makers themselves are above the law,” AAP spokesperson Valmiki Naik said in his petition to Sinha.

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