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Gulbarg case convicts plead for leniency

The Special trial court once again deferred its verdict on the quantum of sentence to be awarded to the >24 convicts found guilty in the Gulbarg Society massacre case.

The court has adjourned the matter for Friday as arguments between lawyers of the SIT, defence and victims remained inconclusive on Thursday.

Abhay Bhardwaj, appearing for the convicts, pleaded the court to show leniency while passing its verdict on the quantum of punishment to the 24 persons found guilty by the trial court.

He also stressed the fact that the court itself had ruled out any conspiracy in its verdict delivered on June 2 and hence the case did not fall in the category of ‘rarest of the rare’.

“If the state can’t establish that the convict is a menace to society, capital punishment should not be considered,” Mr. Bhardwaj argued, opposing the submission by the prosecution that capital punishment should be awarded to those found guilty of mass murder.

Mr. Bhardwaj cited several Supreme Court judgments while seeking a lesser punishment for the convicts.

According to him, Mohammad Jamaluddin Nasir was found guilty of killing five policemen and injuring 13 others during an attack on the American Centre in Kolkata.

However, the apex court commuted his capital punishment to life sentence, considering the mitigating circumstances.

In his submission, he pleaded that the court must consider several factors, including the mitigating circumstances, for the convicts and also their antecedents, age, socio-economic background and possibility of rehabilitation whether they can reform and lead a normal life again. “The accused while on bail began normal life by integrating themselves without creating any trouble for even the witnesses who testified against them even when living in the same locality,” he submitted. , adding that they deserved to be shown leniency while determining the punishment.

He also urged the court to award the sentence concurrently and not as consecutively as demanded by the lawyer appearing for the victims.

“When an accused is sentenced for one major offence and found guilty of ancillary provisions, then all sentences would be required to be ordered concurrently and not consecutively,” he said.


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Printable version | Aug 5, 2021 2:51:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Gulbarg-case-convicts-plead-for-leniency/article14412705.ece

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