"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

India's Supreme Court to hear Yakub Memon's curative petition today

Yakub Abdul Razak Memon
Yakub Abdul Razak Memon
Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, the death row convict in the 1993 Bombay serial blasts case, will plead for relief in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The hearing is crucial for Memon as a Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court in Mumbai has already issued a death warrant against Memon (53). As per the sentence, he will be hanged till death at 7 am on July 30 in the Nagpur central jail.

By filing a curative petition, Memon is seeking a on his execution. He is also pleading for a hearing of his plea in the open court.

Curative petition is the last legal remedy for a convict to seek relief from the final verdict of the Supreme Court, after the dismissal of a review petition.

Generally, such a plea is heard by five judges in the chamber, and the decision is later communicated to the convict's counsel.

A bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu, second seniormost judge T S Thakur and Justice Anil R Dave will hear Memon's plea at 1:40pm on Tuesday.

Yakub was sentenced to death on charges of criminal conspiracy under Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code by the TADA court in 2007. Subsequently, his appeals were rejected by the Bombay High Court, the Supreme Court and the President.

In April, the apex court dismissed his review plea, making the way clear for his execution. Memon's counsel said his client still had an opportunity to file a curative petition before the top court and also a mercy plea before the President.

Memon's review plea was heard in an open court, following a Constitution bench's verdict last year that the practice of deciding review pleas in chambers be done away with, in cases where death penalty has been awarded.

On June 2, 2014, the court 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.

Memon, in his plea, had claimed he was suffering from schizophrenia since 1996 and remained behind bars for nearly 20 years. He had sought commutation of death penalty, contending that a convict cannot be awarded life term and the extreme penalty simultaneously for the same offence.

Memon had sought a review of the March 21, 2013 verdict of the apex court, upholding his death penalty in the case relating to 13 co-ordinated bomb blasts in Bombay, killing 350 persons and injuring 1,200 others on March 12, 1993.

A TADA court in Mumbai had convicted 100 out of the 123 accused. While 12, including Memon, were awarded death penalty, 20 others got life term and the remaining 68 got varying jail terms.

Source: DNA, Prabhati Nayak Mishra, July 21, 2015

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