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Updated: February 19, 2013 01:24 IST

SC stays execution of Veerappan aides till Wednesday

J. Venkatesan
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A writ petition was moved in the Supreme Court on February 16, 2013, on behalf of the four associates of Veerappan to stay their execution. File Photo: Shanker Chakravarty
The Hindu
A writ petition was moved in the Supreme Court on February 16, 2013, on behalf of the four associates of Veerappan to stay their execution. File Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

The apex court will hear the petition filed by advocate Shamik Narain, on behalf of the four convicts, on Wednesday

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed till Wednesday the execution of four associates of slain forest brigand Veerappan. This follows a petition filed on their behalf by advocate Shamik Narain, seeking commutation of their death sentence to life imprisonment. The petition will be heard on Wednesday.

Their mercy petitions had been rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee.

A Bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justices Anil R. Dave and Vikramajit Sen granted liberty to the petitioner to amend the petition by making the four convicts parties.

Earlier, the Chief Justice told senior counsel Colin Gonsalves, appearing for Mr. Narain, that the petition in the present form was not maintainable. Counsel said he had received photo copies of the authorisation and the convicts’ vakkalatnamas. Their families had also given vakkalatnamas and the originals sent through courier would be received in a day or two and he should be permitted to amend the petition.

Simon, Gnanaprakash, Madaiah and Bilavendra, who were convicted of killing 22 persons in landmine blasts in Palar, are in the Hindalga Central Jail in Belgaum since 2004.

Mr. Gonsalves said that a Bench headed by Justice Singhvi had reserved judgment in the Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar case, whose mercy plea has suffered a long delay. The court in that case had appointed senior counsels Ram Jethmalani and T.R. Andhyarujina as amicus curiae to assist it. The case of killers of Rajiv Gandhi was transferred to this court to be heard after the judgment, Mr. Gonsalves said. The judgment would have a bearing on all similar matters, he said and prayed for commutation on the ground of the delay.

Stay executions until Bhullar case verdict

Chief Justice asked Attorney-General G. E. Vahanvati to examine the question of delay in disposal of mercy petitions. Mr. Vahanvati said the petition was not maintainable. The petitioner had not even mentioned why the four convicts were convicted, he said and added “they were sentenced for a crime against the state.” When the Chief Justice said “what is important is the question of delay,” Mr. Vahanvati said “the President cannot forecast [the Bhullar judgment] and decide an issue.”

Mr. T.R. Andhyarujina, who along with Ram Jethmalani is assisting the Justice Singhvi Bench as amicus curiae in the Bhullar case, said that Bench had called for files relating to all mercy petitions and reserved judgment in April 2012 and the decision would have a bearing on all cases.

Mr. Jethmalani urged the court not to stand on technicalities and pleaded for a stay on the execution. He said in ‘death cases’ a two-judge Bench headed by Justice Chinnappa Reddy had laid down a proposition of law that the whole process of trial, appeals and mercy petitions should be decided within two years and this judgment was followed by the Privy Council and House of Lords. However, this judgment was whittled down by a three-judge Bench. Until the judgment was pronounced in the Bhullar case, all executions must be stayed.

Long delay as a ground for commutation of death penalty is a strong argument. Government action and inaction both need to be justifiable, sitting on one's hands to avoid difficult decision should not be encouraged. It is clear that compared to other condemned men in the death row, Afzal Guru and his family got a raw deal, highly immoral if not illegal.

from:  P. Datta
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 08:36 IST

If the present petition is admitted,the question that would arise is,why was Afzal Guru's execution hurriedly carried out.The petitioners' lawyers do not appear to be agreeable to equate the two crimes which were both against the State.But then the question of equation still arises because of the Delay in both cases.And in One,notwithstanding the delay,the execution was expedited for reasons known only to the authorities.

from:  Raj Kumar
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 07:51 IST

Are these people being used as a trophy to prove that our government is impartial. Isn't
that obvious. Who's next?

from:  PatrickMohan
Posted on: Feb 19, 2013 at 07:35 IST

Isn't these the same courts which pronounced him guilty and told there are no other legal remedy except mercy petitions? What has now changed and on what grounds does the courts entertain such requests?

Is the courts hell bent in damaging the credibiltiy of the Indian Legal system? Are the courts failing in their duty by selectively penalising convicts? Why did it not take suo moto consignance when Kasab was hanged and order the Govt not to do any more executions until it sees of the various cases pending in its courts?

Hope better sense and accountability prevail in the highest courts of this land.

from:  vijay
Posted on: Feb 18, 2013 at 20:18 IST

It is a hard feeling to give death penlaity but the nature of the crime if proved beyond doubt justice should be meted out.

from:  K.Natarajan
Posted on: Feb 18, 2013 at 20:01 IST

The Supreme Court should take cognisance of the fact that the capital
punishment handed out to Afsal Guru and Ajmal Kasab is measured with
the same yard stick for the heinous crime by Veerappan associates in
killing 22 policemen. While India can tout it secularity, this
clemency would send a wrong message to the public. Politicians cannot
take a free mile out of opposing or encouraging stands on the death
penalty in order to gain some popularity votes. Those 22 policemen
though coming from lesser economic background than the
parliamentarians who were attacked by Afsal, deserve to get the same
justice. There cannot be one set of justice for attacking parliament
and one set of rules for policemen who maintain law and order at the
ground level. Clemency for Veerappan associates would be a shame for
this democracy.

from:  Krishna S Bala
Posted on: Feb 18, 2013 at 18:53 IST

The right to live is more applicable to the victims who were duty
bound to catch the criminal elements, than those who extinguished
their lives. As per the existing laws of the land, death sentence is
an accepted mode of punishment and that is why the courts including
the Supreme Court award such punishments. When the mercy petitions of
the death sentenced convicts are rejected by the President, there
should be no impediment from any quarters in the execution of the
convicts. After clearing the backlog of those cases where the
President has rejected the mercy petition and the death sentences are
to be carried out, the nation can legally and prospectively decide on
the abolition of death sentence. Till then, in strict adherence to the
principles of equity and natural justice to all such condemned
criminals and their victims' families , the execution should take

from:  Shekar
Posted on: Feb 18, 2013 at 18:00 IST

I am still not getting the points on hues and cries over capital punishment against murders, rape convicts etc.When a human kills another human intentionally, he/she is entitled to be killed on both ethical and moral front irrespective of laws and rules. Here, in this case, a human has taken away 22 lives and has inflicted permanent wounds on their family members. What punishment do you think he deserves other than death penalty considering the fact that he is not a five sense wild animal or a person of mental illness. This is pure psychotic. These are deserved to die. I am always a humanitarian. But these are just disgusting creatures and not human. What is the statement that our judicial system will depict to youngsters , if these people are allowed to live? Kill 22 people or rape brutally, but still live your complete life as an Indian. Is this the one?

from:  Arun
Posted on: Feb 18, 2013 at 17:09 IST

This is unacceptable! Judiciary's job is to deliver justice and not to bend to the pressure of polticians or some organization. Politicians are given enough time and resources to think and make the "laws". Once the law is passed, its none of their business to poke their nose into it as per the situation.
Judiciary must also be held accountable if they are in breach of the code without enforcing the law. why did this case was dragged so long?

from:  John
Posted on: Feb 18, 2013 at 16:53 IST

The main reason for the protests in the hanging of Afsal Guru was the year long dealy in the execution.Actually, it is quite horrible for a convict who is sentneced to death and his kiths and kins to wait impatiently for years for the final verdict.The process moves at a snail's pace and that will kill the patient mentally.
There is also the possibility of much public sentiments towards the convicts and consequent furores when the execution gets delayed.
I believe nobody has right to take others life and if anyone deliberately does that act he deserves death penalty no matter his backgrounds and commitments.
Twenty two police personnels were brutally killed in tha mine blast launched by the convicts in this case.How can they be spared for perpetrating this heinous crime.

from:  pallikunnil Divakaran
Posted on: Feb 18, 2013 at 16:00 IST

does it really mean that Afzal guru was denied this law opportunity?
question now arises why there is differentiation on basis of religion it
breaks the very foundation of Law system ,there should be serious
concerns arising.Soon there will law discrimination all over the place
on basis of religion caste language.The supreme court is sending wrong
signals about its credibility.

from:  abhinav
Posted on: Feb 18, 2013 at 14:20 IST

Today in India the meaning of justice has come to be that once a crime is committed find out all the means of letting the criminal get away. already the justice system is skewed in favour of the criminals by asking for clear 'evidence' which is not available in a lot of cases especially of rape and murder. So why should the few who get convicted be let off to make a mockery of the system??

from:  shiva
Posted on: Feb 18, 2013 at 13:18 IST
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