Yakub Memon’s plea against the curative petition and issuance of death warrant, dismissed

Supreme Court: In the wake of the divergent views expressed earlier by the Division Bench of A.R. Dave and Kurian Joseph, JJ., in the petition concerning the death warrant of Yakub Memon, the three judge bench of Dipak Misra, Amitav Roy and P.C. Pant, JJ., dismissed the petition for lack of merits and held that there is no flaw or fault in the Curative Petition that was decided by the three senior most judges on 21.07.2015 and the issuance of the death warrant by the TADA Court on 30.04.2015.

The petitioner, who is one of the accused in the 1993 Mumbai Blasts Case, was awarded death sentence for his involvement. Appearing for the petitioner, Raju Ramachandran and Anand Grover contended that the curative petition was not decided as per the directions given by the Constitution Bench in Rupa Ashok Hurra v. Ashok Hurra, (2002) 4 SCC 388, and that the requirement of sending the petition to three senior most judges and judges of the bench who passed the judgment affecting the petition, was not complied with. On the contrary, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi contended that, it is the prerogative of the Chief Justice to appoint other judges if the judges of the judgment “complained of” are not available. He further put forth that the decision thus taken by the Chief Justice and two senior most judges on the curative petition would not be rendered void.

Before dismissing the petition, the Court shed some light upon the diverse views expressed by the Division Bench of A.R. Dave and Kurian Joseph, JJ. As per Dave, J. the petitioner had exhausted all the available remedies, therefore the petition did not hold any merit. However Kurian, J. raised questions over the procedure followed by the Court to decide the curative petition, and held that the petitioner’s right under Article 21 of the Constitution has been violated.

The present 3- judge Bench disagreeing with Kurian, J. observed that the procedures regarding the hearing of a curative petition has been duly followed by this Court for the judges who delivered the original judgment admittedly were not available in the office. The Court further observed the remedies sought by the petitioner to seek a commutation of his sentence, and held that ample time had been provided to the petitioner after the rejection of his Mercy Petition by the President and that he had exhausted every legal remedy available. The Court thus held that the issuance of death warrant was in order and was not marred by infirmities. Yakub Abdul Razak Memon v. State of Maharashtra, decided on 29.07.2015

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