Yakub Memon, the lone convict in 1993 Mumbai serial blast case to be awarded a death sentence, who is slated to be executed by hanging on Thursday morning has filed a fresh mercy plea before the President of India.
His earlier mercy plea was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee in 2014.
Meanwhile, a three-judge special bench of the Supreme Court is also set to decide on the legal fate of Yakub Memon. The question of his execution had already split the top court bench on Tuesday necessitating his recent plea seeking stay on the execution to be re-heard by a special bench.
The two-judge bench of Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Anil Dave had on Tuesday delivered a split verdict after which Chief Justice HL Dattu formed a special bench comprising Justice Dipak Mishra, Justice Amitava Roy and Justice Praffulla C Pant to hear the matter on the contentious point of law.
In his plea filed last week, 53-years old Yakub Memon has sought a stay on his execution claiming the death warrant is “illegal” because it didn’t follow “proper procedures”.
Finding merit in Memon’s plea, Justice Kurian Joseph had observed that the, “law is not helpless and this court is not powerless to protect right to life”. He further reasoned that Memon’s curative petition needs to be heard afresh as it was dismissed without following correct procedure.
“The curative petition itself was not decided in accordance with the rules laid down by this court. That defect needs to be cured otherwise there will be a clear violation of the right to life,” said Justice Kurian Jospeh citing the procedural flaw in judicial process.
On the other hand, disagreeing with the contention, Justice Anil Dave had dismissed Memon’s plea. He, however, left it for the Maharashtra Governor to take a call on the clemency plea made by Yakub Memon.
“Sorry, I will not like to be part of staying the death warrant. Let CJI decide,” opined Justice Dave while reading the split verdict.
But the bench in unanimity referred the matter before Chief Justice of India HL Dattu to constitute an appropriate bench.
Earlier, a three judge bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu had rejected Memon’s plea reasoning that the grounds raised by him do not fall within the principles laid down by the apex court in 2002 in deciding the curative petition, the last judicial remedy available to an aggrieved person.
Yakub Memon, brother of the serial blast mastermind Tiger Memon, has been in jail since he was arrested by Nepal police at Kathmandu Airport and handed over to CBI in 1995. His accounting firm used to handle the finances of brother Tiger Memon’s illegal operations, which included lucrative silver smuggling.
257 people were killed and more than 700 were wounded in the barbaric serial blasts across India’s commercial capital which shook the entire country.