As the day of his execution approaches, the family of 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon has pinned its hope on a Supreme Court hearing on Monday on a writ petition challenging the validity of the death warrant issued against him by a TADA court in Mumbai, according to reports.
A bench of Justices Anil R Dave and Kurian Jospeh will take up the petition filed by Memon, according to the Indian Express. The bench will also hear Delhi’s National Law University (NLU), which has supported Memon's contention that his life be spared, the report stated.
"What may be weighing on the minds of judges will be the fact that they don’t have to assess the quality of the evidence anymore and it is the authorities’ obdurate compliance with the procedural norms which has to be considered for clemency," Utkarsh Anand wrote for the IE.
On Sunday, people from diverse fields urged President Pranab Mukherjee to grant Memon reprieve from execution with BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, who off and on makes statements uncomfortable to party leadership, among them. Memon is scheduled to be hanged on July 30 as per the execution warrant issued by TADA Court.
In their 15-page petition submitted to the President, the signatories numbering around 300 and who included several eminent persons, claimed there are "substantive and fresh grounds" that can be considered on merits to give reprieve to Memon.
The petition came amid a huge debate over Memon's hanging and BJP's condemnation of remarks by parties over the execution, saying such a defence is happening due to "petty politics". Sinha, who met and praised Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the state triggering speculation about the Patna Sahib MP's future in BJP, has apparently gone against the party's stand that the Supreme Court verdict on the Memon issue should be respected.
In the petition, the signatories have cited various legal points and international committments to argue that Memon should not be hanged.
According to reports, a late RAW opfficial had favoured clemency for the death row convict on the ground that he had cooperated with investigating agencies and does not deserve to be hanged. B Raman, who retired as Additional Secretary in 1994 and was in-charge of counter-terrorism, had written an article for publication containing this view but stopped it from seeing the light of the day following an after thought.
The article on Rediff.com talks about Memon being picked up in Nepal and his subsequent formal arrest at Old Delhi railway station by the CBI.
Chennai-based B S Raghavan, brother of the late Raman, said "everything that has been published is correct and he (Raman) had written it". Raman, who passed away in 2013, had written about a "moral dilemma" in his mind ever since he had read about the sentencing of Memon to death by the court in 2006.
"There is not an iota of doubt about the involvement of Yakub and other members of the family in the conspiracy and their cooperation with the ISI till July 1994. In normal circumstances, Yakub would have deserved the death penalty if one only took into consideration his conduct and role before July 1994.
"But if one also takes into consideration his conduct and role after he was informally picked up in Kathmandu, there is a strong case for having second thoughts about the suitability of the death penalty in the subsequent stages of the case," said the article which has been published after taking permission from his brother. (With inputs from PTI)