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Yakub Memon case: Here’s what the common Indian has to say about SC verdict

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By Aishwarya Nag Choudhury

WHAT DIVIDED THE TWO JUDGES

The bench comprising of Justice AR Dave and Justice Joseph Kurien dealing with Yakub Abdul Razak Memon’s case had contradictory views pertaining to the question of life and death and the validity of judicial proceedings.

Picture credit: indianexpress.com
Picture credit: indianexpress.com

While Justice Joseph questioned the SC’s order of July 21 rejecting Memon’s curative petition, Justice Dave felt that Memon had exhausted all his legal remedies and his present petition against the warrant claiming that the SC rejected his curative exercise is futile. Further, Justice Dave was of the opinion that Yakub’s legal counsel, senior advocates TR Andhyarujina and Raju Ramachandran were “passing the buck” to the CJI. Addressing them, he further said “I hope you know who you are trying to save.”

Justice Joseph was of the opinion that Dave should have been part of the curative bench as he was one of the three judges who rejected Memon’s plea. However, the judges for Memon’s case in 2013, Justice PS Sathavisan and Justice BS Chauhan had unanimously upheld the verdict of death penalty in the TADA court on July 2007. Justice Joseph said that since Memon’s petition was against the dismissal of review, he should be able to hear it.

The two judges could not come to a unanimous decision and the matter was passed on for further hearing to the CJI. The bench also asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi of the Maharashtra Government to clarify the rules regarding curative petitions.

Picture credit: sify.com
Picture credit: sify.com

THE SC JUDGEMENT

A new and larger SC bench, modelled on the recommendations of the CJI met today and dismissed Memon’s mercy plea. The bench did not find any problems with the issuance of the death penalty by TADA.
Memon’s execution is scheduled for Thursday, July 30 for his role in the Mumbai Blasts case. “After the rejection of mercy petition by the President, Memon had not challenged that in the court of law,” the SC bench said.

Earlier, Maharashtra governor Vidyasagar Rao on Wednesday rejected Yakub Memon’s mercy petition. However, Yakub filed a fresh mercy petition with the President on Wednesday. That is his last hope now.

Picture credit: enterpriseisrael.org
Picture credit: enterpriseisrael.org

WHAT ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ HAVE TO SAY

With the final verdict of the Court, we at NewsGram asked some teachers, students and young professionals about their opinion on the question of the death penalty and Memon. Here’s what they had to say:

Professor of Terrorism and National Security, at JNU (Delhi) Dr. Anupama Roy says that constitutionally Memon’s case falls under the “rarest of rare cases”. She says she honestly feels that the time of fourteen years is not enough to reform the defendant because of “the intensity of his crime”. “That leaves us with two options: life imprisonment or prison time. As in the Western countries, we should also abolish death sentences, and stick to life imprisonment” she said.

Shreya Rashid, pursuing MA in Philosophy in JNU was of the same opinion. She called the verdict a “denial of justice”. “To subject a self- surrendering person to death, questions the credibility of our legal system. Crime as his should be negatively rewarded with imprisonment, but a death verdict is not justified,” she explained.

Shreyanko Basu, a Teach for India fellow is of the opinion that the SC verdict is justified. According to him, “terrorism cannot be stalled until befitting punishment is given. The number of lives lost in the bomb blast can never be replaced. Then why should he (Memon) be spared?”

Professor of Political Science at JNU Dr. TG Suresh said that jail time is as good as a death penalty. “Isolation is worse than death in many ways. Yakub should be made to serve more time in jail”. ”Our Judicial system is anyway a torture” the professor jokingly added.

“In my opinion, Yakub Memon should not be granted mercy. He is asking for mercy on technical grounds but there is no doubt that he was involved in the terror attacks” says Advocate of Accenture Services, Priyanka Ganguly.

“I sleep better at night knowing that they’re hung than the risk of them having escaped. Especially after India being the victim of so many terror attacks, it is just better to eradicate people like Yakub Memon” she added.

It is debatable if the death sentence is for the better or worse. Death sentences are more cost effective for the exchequer, for in the end, we are paying for their meals and maintenance. However, death sentence takes away any scope of reform and is by and large human rights violation is also true.

So what’s your opinion? Is the SC verdict fair?

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Another Deadline Missed, No Draft Scheme on the Cauvery Dispute Till Now

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme.

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The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.
Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia commons

The Centre yet again failed to submit a draft Scheme on the Cauvery river water dispute before the Supreme Court on the ground that the Prime Minister and other ministers were campaigning in Karnataka, which Tamil Nadu flayed as “brazen partisanship”.

Seeking 10 more days to finalize the scheme, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud: “A draft scheme has been placed before the Cabinet. Because of Karnataka elections, the Prime Minister and all other Ministers are in Karnataka. Before that the Prime Minister was abroad (in China).”

It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
Parliament of India, wikimedia commons

The Centre’s submission was countered strongly by senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, who said: “Sorry to say, the Central government is politicizing the issue. They are worried about their electoral fate in Karnataka. Election in Karnataka is on May 12 and somehow they don’t want to do it till then. We have enough of it. It is brazen partisanship of the Union of India. It is the end of co-operative federalism.”

The apex court in its February 16 judgement had directed the Centre to frame a Scheme within six months in accordance with the recommendation by the Cauvery River Water Tribunal for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Regulatory Authority (CRA), which Karnataka opposes strongly.

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme. Tamil Nadu filed a contempt petition against the Centre for failure to act within the deadline.

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During Thursday’s hearing, the court directed the Karnataka government to respond on how much of the four TMC of water it can release by month end. It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

In the course of the hearing, the court asked Karnataka to release 4 TMC of water by Monday.

The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.

The court directed the next hearing of the matter on Tuesday. (IANS)