Mumbai: A three-member bench of the Supreme Court has upheld the death warrant issued against 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts convict Yakub Memon saying there was no lapse in the earlier dismissal of his curative petition.
Following the Supreme Court verdict, the Maharashtra Governor reportedly dismissed Memon’s mercy plea.
A mercy petition that lies with the President Pranab Mukherjee is the only hope Yakub Memon, who faces gallows tomorrow, is left with.
The bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra, before rising for lunch recess, said it will pronounce the order today itself, if the counsel for the parties “cooperate”. The arguments will continue after the lunch break.
Senior advocate Raju Ramachndran, appearing for Memon, initiated arguments by referring to the separate, divergent orders passed by Justice A R Dave and Justice Kurian Joseph yesterday and said that the procedures established by the law have not been followed while deciding the curative petition of the convict.
Ramachandran said, “The judges, who were part of judicial process earlier, must be party to curative petition. It cannot be decided by judges who are strangers to the matters.”
He further said that besides the three senior most judges, the curative petition should have been circulated to the judges, if available, who had decided the criminal appeal and the review petition.
Senior advocates T R Andhyarujina and Anand Grover both supported the contention of Ramachandran and said that this death warrant is illegal and can not be executed tomorrow.
A three-judge bench headed by CJI had on July 21 rejected Memon’s plea, contending that the grounds raised by him for relief did not fall within principles laid down by the apex court in 2002 in deciding curative petitions.
Memon, in his plea, 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 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 June 2, 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 April 9 this year dismissed Memon’s petition seeking review of his death sentence which was upheld on March 21, 2013.
Memon’s review petition was heard by a three-judge bench 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.
12 coordinated blasts had rocked Bombay, as the city was then known, on March 12, 1993, leaving 257 dead and over 700 injured.