INDIA: REVIEW PLEA OF DEATH ROW CONVICTS TO BE HEARD IN OPEN COURT BY THREE-JUDGE BENCH
September 2, 2014: The Supreme Court of India ruled that review petitions against verdicts upholding death sentences will now be heard by a three-judge bench in open court.
"Death cases in which review petition have been dismissed, but execution has not taken place can be reopened and heard by a bench of three judges, and time of 30 minutes will be given," said Mumbai serial blasts case convict Yakub Abdul Razak Memon's lawyer, Faisal Farooq.
However, the apex court ruled that this is not applicable in cases where curative petition has been dismissed.
The Supreme Court had stayed the execution of Yakub Memon and had tagged Yakub's petition- seeking a stay on his execution-with pending cases.
In his petition to the court, Yakub had stated that he had been in jail for more than 20 years, which is more than the jail term awarded for life imprisonment, which is 14 years.
Earlier, President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected Yakub's mercy plea and had conveyed his decision to the Maharashtra government. This decision was taken on the recommendations of the Maharashtra Government and the Home Ministry that the mercy petition of Yakub be rejected.
Yakub, a chartered accountant and brother of fugitive terror mastermind Tiger Memon, was sentenced to death by a TADA court in 2007 after being found guilty of charges of criminal conspiracy and for arranging finances and managing its disbursement through the co-accused in the Mumbai serial blasts case.
Upholding the Mumbai TADA court's verdict, the Supreme Court, in March, 2013, had said, "It is not a hyperbole to state that he was one of the driving spirits behind the plan."
In October 2013, Yakub had applied for a presidential pardon following which a report from the state government was sought by the home ministry.
Yakub was arrested from Kathmandu Airport in 1994. He was later described by the TADA court as the mastermind who played a key role in the conspiracy, thus "warranting death penalty".
The multiple blasts had claimed 257 lives and left 713 injured. (Sources: ANI, 02/09/2014)