The views of Justice K.T. Thomas, the former Supreme Court judge who presided over the three-member Bench that awarded the death penalty to Rajiv Gandhi’s killers 14 years ago, make interesting and disturbing reading. It seems to have become a fashion for former judges to express controversial opinions on important matters.
Only recently, Justice Markandey Katju had a spat with Arun Jaitley after making some comments on Narendra Modi.
A judge describing the delay in the execution of convicts as double penalty is unacceptable. It is surprising to read such an opinion from one who delivered a judgment after a careful analysis of the case. A delay (we do not know why) in executing the sentence should be no reason to allow the conspirators to escape the noose.
At a time when there are serious allegations that Afzal Guru was not given a fair trial and that the decision to hang him was a political one, the suggestion for a review of the verdict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case will only further increase the alienation among the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Already Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has questioned the “selective” hanging. A review of the cases of death row prisoners on whatever grounds will only vitiate the atmosphere further.