SC shows no mercy on Yakub Memon, President the lone hope

news
29 July 2015

A three-judge Supreme Court bench today dismissed the 1993 Mumbai serial blast convict Yakub Abdul Razak Memon's plea to stop his execution scheduled for tomorrow as it did not find any fault with the issuance of death warrant by the TADA court.

The Supreme Court has held that Memon's curative petition was rightly disposed off, earlier.

The bench also refused to entertain a plea by Yakub's lawyers that a fresh mercy petition was pending with the Maharashtra governor and said that it was not an issue for the court to adjudge since a court has very limited jurisdiction on the subject.

''The issuance of death warrant is in order and we do not find any kind of legal fallacy,'' a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, Prafulla C Pant and Amitava Roy said. ''Issuance of death warrant by the TADA court of April 30 cannot be faulted,'' the bench said, adding ''in the result, the writ petition sans merit and stands dismissed.''

Maharashtra governor Vidyasagar Rao, however, rejected Memon's mercy petition earlier in the day, and now his only slender hope is the fresh mercy petition filed with the President today.

The bench said the dismissal of curative petition by the senior most judges of the Supreme Court was correct. ''In view of that we conclude that the curative petition decided by the three senior most judges cannot be faulted,'' the bench said, adding that it was not inclined to go into the issue of second mercy petition filed by Memon before the Maharashtra government after the dismissal of his curative petition on 21 July.

The bench rejected the contention by Memon that all legal remedies were not exhausted, including the issue of clemency, saying the President had rejected his mercy petition on 11 April 2014, which was communicated to him on 26 May 2014.

''After the first mercy petition was rejected he did not challenge it and on July 22, 2015, after rejection of his curative petition he filed the second mercy petition. However, how the second mercy petition is going to be dealt with, we are not inclined to go,'' the bench said.

The bench also rejected Memon's plea that death warrant was issued without hearing him and a mandatory 14-day time frame was not granted in informing him about the date of execution after the rejection of mercy petition. The order was passed by a three-judge bench which was constituted to hear afresh Memon's plea after two judges had yesterday given a split order.

A three-judge apex court bench headed by Chief Justice had on 21 July rejected Memon's curative petition contending that the grounds raised by him for relief did not fall within principles laid down by the Supreme Court in 2002 in deciding curative pleas.

Memon had claimed he was suffering from schizophrenia since 1996 and has remained behind bars for nearly 20 years, much more than a person serving life term has to spend in jail.

He had earlier sought commutation of death penalty, contending that a convict cannot be awarded life term and the death sentence for the same offence. The apex court had on 2 June 2014 stayed the execution of Memon and referred his plea to a Constitution Bench as to whether review petitions in death penalty cases be heard in an open court or in chambers.
 
The apex court had on 9 April this year dismissed Memon's petition seeking review of his death sentence, which was upheld on 21 March 2013.

A three-judge bench heard Memon's review petition in an open court in pursuance of the Constitution Bench verdict that the practice of deciding review pleas in chambers be done away with, in cases where death penalty has been awarded.





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