As you were asleep last night, SC heard Yakub's last-minute plea at 3am, here is what happened
news Thursday, July 30, 2015 - 05:30
The Supreme Court of India today rejected '93 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon's last minute plea to stall his execution which scheduled at 7am at the Nagpur Central Jail on July 30. Yakub Memon was later hanged to death as per schedule. Read a full report here. But in a spectacular display of the responsiveness of our judicial system, three Supreme Court judges held a hearing at 3am in the morning, in what many believe was an unprecedented move by Indian judiciary. It was a nail-biting wait for the hearing to begin. Around 12:30am, media reports emerged that in a last-ditch effort to save Yakub Memon's life, lawyers and activists including Anand Grover, Prashant Bhushan, Indira Jaisingh, Yug Choudhary, Nitya Ramakrishnan and Vrinda Grover had convinced the Chief Justice of India to convene a special hearing in the middle of the night to hear a plea on behalf on Memon. The same three SC judges who heard the curative petition on July 29, Justices Dipak Misra, PC Pant and Amitava Roy, heard the fresh plea as well. The hearing was held at court no. 4. The hearing was initially scheduled to begin at 2 am at Justice Dipak Misra's residence in Delhi, but the hearing eventually began only at 3 20am at the Supreme Court. Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi was also present at the hearing. Here is what happened inside the court. The petitioning lawyers sought a stay stating that the earlier mercy petitions were filed by Yakub's brother, not Yakub himself. Since the curative petitions filed by Yakub Memon were heard only on July 29, the court has to give the convict the mandated 14 day notice before his execution from the date of rejection of his plea and thus the execution cannot be carried out on July 30, said the lawyers. The lawyers also citied the 'Shatrugan Chauhan vs Union of India' case and the Maharashtra Prisons Manual over the manner in which the mercy petitions were dismissed and not enough time was given to the convict. The petitioners also questioned the speed at which the President rejected the mercy plea following the SC verdict on July 29, and sought that the actual orders of the mercy petition, in hard copy, should be handed over to the convict and his family before the execution. The Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the government, argued that the judiciary had already upheld the death warrant which was issued in April. AG also dismissed the argument that the petition filed by brother should be treated as different from one filed by the convict later. More importantly, he said that a 14 day notice cannot be given to the convict every time a petition is filed and dismissed. The petitioners said in their rebuttal that "terrorists too have fundamental rights" and that the government was desperate to execute Yakub on July 30. The court however took the view that prayers were same as what had been argued earlier, and that Yakub did not disown his brother's plea. The court observed that the death warrant was issued to the convict on July 13 and he had enough time to come to terms with it. Thus the court ruled that Yakub's final plea cannot be accepted and that an extension would be a travesty of justice. Justice Dipak Misra also noted that ample opportunity was given to the convict to present his case. The hearing went on till about 5am when the orders were finally pronounced. About two hours later, Yakub Memon was executed. Also read: Where is Tiger Memon?