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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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Love Jihad Case : Kerala’s State Women Commission Directs SP to submit report on Hadiya’s Condition

24 year old Akhila had converted to Islam and taken the name Hadiya to marry Shafin Jahan.  However, their marriage was declared null and void by the High Court of Kerala

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Office of Kerala Women Comission
Office of Kerala Women Comission. Official Website KWC

Kerala, October 28, 2017 : A day after a video of Hadiya pleading to be ‘saved’ from her father’s brutalities was released, Kerala’s State Women Commission has directed Kottayam Superintendent of Police to inquire and submit a report on Hadiya’s present conditions.

In the video release at a press conference in Kochi by social activist Rahul Eashwar, Hadiya can be heard saying, “You have to get me out. I am sure I will be killed tomorrow or the day after.” Hadiya claims that her father is physically assaulting her and pleads to be saved in the video before her voice trails away.

The direction came following reports that Hadiya is being sedated and physically abused at her parents’ house.

The State Women Commission has told the SP that an officer not less than the rank of a DSP should conduct the inquiry and submit a report on the condition of the 24-year old woman in love jihad case.

24 year old Akhila had converted to Islam and taken the name Hadiya to marry Shafin Jahan.  Their marriage was declared null and void by the High Court of Kerala after Hadiya’s father Ashokan has approached the court, claiming that his daughter had been forcefully converted and her alleged husband was involved in plans to take her out of the country for questionable reasons.

Consequently, Hadiya’s husband Shafin Jahan had approached the Supreme Court and challenged the order by the High Court of Kerala, which is still hearing the case.

– prepared by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala

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Gorkhaland: SC allows withdrawl of Central Forces from Darjeeling

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The Supreme Court of India
The Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 27: The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the Centre to withdraw seven companies of central paramilitary forces from trouble-torn Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of West Bengal where the agitation for Gorkhaland, a separate state for Gorkhas took a violent turn.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud directed the Centre to withdraw the seven companies of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPF) for being used for election duties in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.

The bench also sought a response from the West Bengal government on the Centre’s appeal against the High Court’s order putting on hold its decision to withdraw 10 of the 15 companies of the central paramilitary forces deployed in the hill district.

The apex court also stayed the pending proceedings before the High Court and said that it will deal with the case in a holistic manner and posted the appeal of the Centre for further hearing on November 27.

In an interim order, the High Court had stayed the withdrawal of CAPF from the Darjeeling hills till October 27 after the state government approached it against the Centre’s decision.(IANS)

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Supreme Court Bans Pet Coke and Furnace Oil to bring down Air Pollution in NCR

India tops the list of biggest consumers of pet coke globally, which emits 11 per cent more greenhouse gases than coal. Consequently, India also records the highest number of deaths with pollution as its main cause

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Supreme Court
Industries employing pet coke and furnace oil emit large amounts of sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide that can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause respiratory problems. Pixabay

New Delhi, October 25, 2017 : Environmental issues have been on the Supreme Court’s radar lately. After the crackers-ban on Diwali, the Supreme Court on Tuesday banned the use of two cheap but extremely polluting industrial fuels in and around New Delhi in an attempt to clean the air in the national capital region (NCR).

The Supreme Court banned the use of petroleum coke which is a dirtier alternative to coal, and furnace oil and has directed three states namely Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to notify the ban on immediate basis. The decision came after the Court was informed about the soaring pollution levels in NCR following Diwali due to toxic gas emissions by industries that rely heavily on petroleum coke (commonly called pet coke) and furnace oil.

However, this was not the first time that the two pollutants were banned.

Previously, the hazardous fuels had been banned in Delhi in 1996. However, despite court restrictions, their use continued in the NCR in brick kilns, cement factories, ceramics manufacturers and paper mills.

The new order comes after a government-appointed body, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) found high sulphur levels and recommended banning the two fuels to the court in April.

ALSO READ Was the Ban on Sale of Firecrackers in Delhi Successful? Data on Pollution Levels in Delhi Say Otherwise

On Tuesday, a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice MB Lokur ordered for the ban to come into effect naturally from November 1 in case the government failed to notify the prohibit.

Why Did The Supreme Court Ban Pet Coke and Furnace Oil?

India tops the list of biggest consumers of pet coke globally, which emits 11 per cent more greenhouse gases than coal. Consequently, India also records the highest number of deaths with pollution as its main cause with 2.5 million Indians facing earth deaths in 2015, as per data by The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health

For an easier comparison, petrol and diesel comprise of 50 PPM (parts per million) of the extremely dangerous sulphur.

On the other hand, pet coke has 69,000-74,000 PPM and furnace oil has 15,000- 23,000 ppm sulphur in its composition.

Industries employing these two fuels emit large amounts of sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide that can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause respiratory problems like asthma, and bronchitis.

Burning of pet coke also releases sulphur dioxide which is a known cause of several lung diseases and acid rain.

How Will The Ban Affect Industries?

The ban on pet coke and furnace oil is believed to imply heavy losses to the industries using these fuels; the worst hit will be numerous small and medium sized industries that employ thousands of workers.

“Furnace oil is used in estimated
50-60% industries. As an alternate,
we can use CNG but it will cost us
nearly 2-3 times more”
– Dinesh Mittal,
                                     President of Sahibabad Industrial Area, Site-IV, (as told to Hindustan Times)

Pet coke is known to deliver more per-unit energy in comparison to coal, and is also readily and cheaply available which is why small-sized industries depend heavily on them. The low costs make it an attractive offer for the buyers. Banning the fuels may further restrict their ability to expand operations and hire more staff.

The Central Pollution Control Board had submitted a draft on stipulated norms in June which only received attention and was uploaded on the ministry website in October.  The furious Supreme Court also pulled up on the Centre for being insensitive and for “sitting and doing nothing” about the growing pollution levels in the NCR.

The Supreme Court has now ordered for the governments of  Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to notify the ban and complete the exercise by December 31.