In Re: Yakub Memon

The death sentence of Yakub Memon has reached finality under the present Indian Legal System — things can change today though. Nevertheless, the fact that Yakub Memon was brought to India under a political arrangement between Indian Government through its intelligence agencies, and Yakub Memon, in his capacity of a Pakistani citizen, does bring this case within high probability of postive outcome at the doors of the President/Governor; which justifies post-ponement/stay of the death warrant, but I don’t know whether this issue has been raised in the SC till now; however, the SC can always act suo-moto.

At some TV channel, I heard that the SC did enquire about the status of Yakub Memon’s mercy petition; and on the very next screen, I heard Ujjwal Nikam announcing that the mercy petition of Yakub Memon has been rejected by the Maharashtra Governor.

The mercy petition of Yakub Memon himself — the earlier one was by the brother — has also been preferred before the President. As far as I understand, the mercy petitions are forwarded through the Jail authorities concerned, which are part of the state government; so, the mercy petition to the President should also pass through the office of the Governnor at some stage. It is not known to me if the mercy petition has already reached the office of the President. However, in either case, there was a ground for stay by the SC.

If the mercy petition has passed through the Governor, it was improper for the Governor to have rejected the mercy petition preferred before him since a higher authority under the constitution was also seized of the matter; the SC could have taken cognizance of the same and granted the stay of execution.

And, in case the mercy petition to the President had not passed through the Governor’s office, the delay is unexplained, and the SC could have taken cognizance of the same and stayed the execution.

If the mercy petition has already reached the President’s office, and he doesn’t make the decision by 10 PM tonight, the execution will have to be stayed by the jail authorities or the President himself — a person facing execution has a right to good night sleep; denying him that would be cruel.

However, in case the mercy petition doesn’t reach the President, and the death sentence is executed tomorrow, it would be travesty of justice albeit by the executive. The SC is the guardian of justice, and there can be no case when it wouldn’t have the jurisdiction to deal with a matter concerning justice irrespective of what the AG may argue. I think the SC should have sat a little longer and enquired fully into the exact status of the two mercy petitions.

Generally, I don’t interfere in judicial process, but today I am doing it because it won’t affect the order being dictated right now at 4.45 am. From what is being reported on CNN-IBN, it seems the court is going to order that the earlier mercy petition filed by Yakub’s brother is indistinguishable from the one filed by Yakub himself; therefore, the 14 days gap between the rejection of mercy petition and the execution of death sentence provided for in Shatrughan Chauhan’s judgment can’t be counted from today. I think this would be bad intrepretation of law. The Shatrughan Chauhan’s judgment clearly mentions the mercy petition filed by the convict, not relatives. It will be travesty of justice and the death of individuality of the prisoners. I hope this travesty doesn’t happen.

About the Author

Ankur Mutreja
Ankur Mutreja is an advocate-cum-writer, and his blogs are amongst his modes of expression. He has also authored six books: "Kerala Hugged"; "Light: Philosophy"; "Flare: Opinions"; "Sparks: Satire and Reviews"; "Writings @ Ankur Mutreja"; and "Nine Poems"; which can be downloaded free from the links on the top menu.

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