Yakub Memon, one of the chief conspirators in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, will be executed on Thursday after the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the legality of the death warrant issued against him. A three-judge bench of the SC also ruled that Memon’s curative petition was “correctly” dismissed by the court earlier. Memon will be marched to the gallows in Nagpur central jail.
Ending his last hope, President Pranab Mukherjee also rejected his second mercy late at night after Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao dismissed a similar plea earlier in the day.
Ignoring the high drama and frenzy that has dominated the discourse on the validity of the death sentence across the country, a three-judge bench comprising Justice Dipak Mishra, Prafulla Chandra Pant and Amitava Roy rejected the plea put forward by Memon’s counsels that the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court had not followed proper procedure in issuance of death warrant on April 30 for his execution on July 30.
“Issuance of death warrant is in order. We do not find any kind of legal fallacy. In view of that, we conclude that the curative petition was decided by three senior-most judges of this court cannot be faulted,” the bench said, ending Memon’s last ditch battle to escape the gallows…
The court pointed out that the death warrant was issued only after Memon chose not to challenge the rejection of his first mercy petition by the President.
“After first mercy petition was rejected, he did not challenge it. On July 22, 2015, he filed another mercy petition. Whether he was entitled for such second mercy petition or not during the pendency of the curative petition,” the bench said.
“As far as compliance of 14 days for execution of warrant from scheduled date of execution is concerned, it meets the time limit,” the bench said agreeing with the argument advanced by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who contended that Memon did not file the curative petition after his first review petition was dismissed.
Memon’s senior counsel Raju Ramachandran raised several technical grounds for stay on execution of the death warrant, questioning the legality of the procedures and arguing that while the TADA court had issued the death warrant on Apirl 30 to be executed within 90 days, Memon was conveyed about it only on July 13, which left him with just 17 days to seek legal remedies.
The President dismissed Memon’s second mercy plea after Home Minister Rajnath Singh called on him late in the evening and the conveyed his ministry views on the subject. Singh reportedly pointed out that was no fresh ground to reconsider the mercy plea, hence the President should reject it.
In dealing with mercy plea, the President is bound to go by the view of the Home ministry.
Meanwhile, the police in Mumbai and several other part of the country have beefed up security arrangements and appealed to religious leaders not to make any inflammatory comment on the hanging.
In Mumbai, heavy police deployment has been made in sensitive areas. The Quick Response Teams of police have also been deployed at the Al Hussaini building in Mahim area of Mumbai where the Memon family resides.
In communally sensitive Uttar Pradesh, the police a high alert has been sounded and arrangements made to deal with any disturbances. “All divisional commissioners, district magistrates and police chiefs have been directed to ensure patrolling in sensitive places. Local intelligence units have been asked to remain alert as anti-social elements might create a communal flare-up in the state,” Director General of Police, Jagmohan Yadav said in Lucknow.
Of the 123 accused in the Mumbai blast case, 99 were convicted and given varied terms of prison sentence. Of the 12 who were given capital punishment, the sentences of 11 were commuted to life . Yaqub is the lone person to face the gallows.
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