30 July, 2015

Yakub Memon Hanged – Justice for 1993 Mumbai Blasts Victims

Late in the night, lawyers for Memon changed strategy and rushed to the residence Chief Justice of India H L Dattu and petitioned him for an urgent hearing to stay the hanging on the ground that 14 days time should be given to death row convict to enable him challenge the rejection and for other purposes.
After consultations, the CJI constituted the same three-judge bench that had earlier decided on the death warrant issue to go into the late night plea.
In a late night development a three-member bench of Supreme Court sat to hear last ditch petition on behalf of Yakub Memon at 2 AM. The bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, Prafulla Chandra Pant and Amitava Roy, which had upheld the death warrant against the 1993 Mumbai blasts convict, heard the petition at the Supreme Court.
In the fresh plea, lawyers for Memon are likely to argue that the person facing the gallows should be given at least 14 days time after the rejection of his mercy petition as the apex court’s guidelines. Yakub Memon’s lawyer Anand Grover argued that a death row convict is entitled to 14 days reprieve after rejection of mercy plea for various purposes. Anand Grover said Memon hds right to challenge rejection of mercy plea.
Earlier on Wednesday, President Pranab Mukherjee and Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao had rejected the mercy petitions filed by Memon.
Lawyer also argued that nearest legal aid centre has to be informed about rejection but cannot be done because it was in the night. Lawyer also questioned how the President rejected the fresh mercy plea in a short time. Other argument put forward was that the convict had right to receive copy of rejection of mercy plea.
Opposing stay on hanging, AG Mukul Rohatgi said that the (fresh plea of Memon) was abusing the system. He added that death warrant upheld just 10 hours ago by three judges cannot be quashed.
Lawyer of Yakub Memon replied to this by saying that they were hell bent on hanging Memon this morning. AG’s argument to this was that,
“The gameplan is to prolong the stay in jail for years to get the death sentence commuted. Memon’s petition is not maintainable.”
The Supreme Court today then dismissed plea for stay of execution put by Memon’s lawyers. The court observed that on the first glance the submissions made on behalf of Memon looked attractive but on finer consideration the case of the convict does not carry much weight.
Court added that,
“Giving 14 days’ time to Memon after rejection of mercy plea by President would be travesty of justice. Ample opportunity was granted to the convict after the rejection of the first mercy petition. Stay of death warrant could be a travesty of justice. Rejection of first mercy petition by President could have been assailed before this court.”
Reacting to the Court order AG said that,
“It is the end of legal process and not a question of victory.”
Memon’s lawyer Anand Grover said SC order is a tragic mistake and a wrong decision.
Justice Dipak Misra, heading a three-judge bench, in an order in Court Room 4 which was opened for an unprecedented 90-minute hearing that started at 3.20 AM and ended a little before dawn passed the order of dismissing the plea.
The court’s decision brought the curtain down on the last ditch attempts by Yakob Memon’s lawyers to stop the execution scheduled at 7 AM at Nagpur Central Jail.

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