Suspending the death sentence awarded to Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab in the 26/11 Mumbai attack case, the Supreme Court today said it would like to hear his plea challenging capital punishment at length as ''due process of law'' had to be followed, even though many felt that the appeal should be ''rejected''.
When the hearing began, justice Aftab Alam told amicus curie Raju Ramachandran, who is assisting the court in the case, ''Mr Ramachandran, does your man deserve further appeal? Many think he does not deserve any further indulgence... Our court system may not be perfect but God knows that we do our best to give justice to one and all. That we do indeed believe in due process and sometimes we ourselves suffer from it.''
While the court agreed to deal with the appeal expeditiously, a special bench of justices Aftab Alam and C K Prasad allowed Kasab to amend his Special Leave Petition and furnish additional grounds for challenging the sentence awarded to him by the special court and confirmed by the Bombay High Court.
According to the apex court the final hearing on Kasab's appeal would be held on 31 January. At the same time it directed Maharashtra government and amicus curie Raju Ramachandran to complete all arguments before 30 November.
Kasab the lone convict in the case to be captured alive has been lodged in Arthur Road prison in Mumbai. He moved the Special Leave Petition through jail authorities and has challenged his conviction and death sentence in the terror attack case.
Kasab, 24, along with nine other Pakistani terrorists had landed behinf the Badhwar Park railway officers colony in south Mumbai on the night of 26 November, 2008 by sea. The terrorists then went a shooting spree at various city landmarks, leaving 166 people dead and many more wounded.