Mail Today Bureau New Delhi, December 11, 2014 | UPDATED 09:53 IST
The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the stay on the execution of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, the lone death row convict in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. The court also sought responses from the Maharashtra Special Task Force (MSTF) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Memon's plea seeking review of the death penalty awarded to him.
In an open court hearing, a three-judge bench, headed by Justice AR Dave, said the execution of Memon shall remain stayed during the pendency of his review petition against the imposition of death penalty. The court fixed the matter for further hearing on January 28, 2015.
The counsel appearing for Memon said that neither the trial court nor the apex court gave special reasons for sending him to gallows. "My (Memon's) entire conviction is based on retracted confessions of several co-accused in the case. The judgment under review does not talk about the fact or evidence that I took part in any terrorist activity," Memon's lawyer argued on behalf of him. The lawyer also alleged that Memon was convicted and then sentenced to death by a special TADA court even before the complete judgment was delivered, hence, his conviction was not valid.
Earlier, review petitions were decided in chambers but, later, the apex court had ruled that such pleas, if directed against the imposition of death penalty, would be heard in an open court. The apex court had, on September 26, sought responses from the Maharashtra government and others on Memon's plea that his review petition against the death penalty be heard in open court. A constitution bench of the apex court had, on June 2, held that years spent behind bars during prolonged judicial proceedings cannot be a ground for converting death sentence to life imprisonment and review plea of condemned prisoners must be given an open court hearing. Taking a cue from the constitution bench judgment, Memon had said in his plea that according to the verdict, his review plea should be heard in an open court.
Memon is the second death row convict, after Nithari rapist-cum-serial killer Surinder Koli, who approached the apex court seeking hearing of a review plea in an open court.
Source: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/yakub-memon-execution-supreme-court-cbi-1993-mumbai-serial-blasts-case/1/406239.html [last accessed 06.02.2015]