At 3:17 a.m. on the day of his execution, Yakub Memon woke up the Supreme Court to hear him for one last time in an unprecedented early morning hearing in the highest court's long history.
And this time, the lone death row convict in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case told a quickly assembled Bench that he accepts himself as a condemned man, but only wanted to live for another 14 days so that he "could make his peace with God and settle his earthly affairs before leaving this world."
At 10 minutes to 5 a.m., hardly a couple of hours before his execution, the Bench held that Memon had enjoyed "ample opportunities" before the apex court, filed an abundance of petitions and any further leeway to him would be a "travesty of justice".
Justice Misra, who led the Bench comprising of Justices Prafulla C. Pant and Amitava Roy, asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi whether Memon's family was allowed to meet him.
"They are there now," Mr. Rohatgi said.
The AG said the Maharashtra Governor rejected Memon's mercy plea at 4.30 p.m. on Wednesday. The President received his mercy plea at the Secretariat at 2 p.m. and rejected it at 10 p.m.
"He was informed of both rejections," Mr. Rohatgi submitted.
High drama started late in the night when a group of lawyers filed a petition in the apex court in Memon's name on the ground that a minimum 14 days elapse between mercy rejection and execution was needed.
Come midnight, Supreme Court Registrars converged at the Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu's residence to convene a Bench to hear this petition.
At a quarter to 2 a.m., the CJI decided to let the Bench headed by Justice Misra to hear the matter. It had only been a few hours since the same Bench dismissed Memon's plea to stay his execution on his birthday.
Outside Justice Misra's residence, the lawyers were told to go to the Supreme Court where the matter would be heard in open court at 2.30 am.
In Court 4, lights were switched on as security personnel sounded the red alert inside the Supreme Court complex and a heavy posse cordoned off the area from outside.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi was also summoned, after which the hearing started with senior advocate Anand Grover supported by other advocates such as Prashant Bhushan, Yug Choudhry, and Brinda Grover saying they have sought the reprieve of 14 days as a "substantive right". Mr. Choudhary asked why the "government is hell bent on executing him today."
When his turn came, AG countered that Memon was "simply abusing the system" by knocking on the Supreme Court's doors again and again.
"Judicial process got over at 4.30 pm today, but here we are again. Repeated mercy petitions will be filed and there will be repeated petitions for 14 days reprieve," AG argued.
He said the first mercy petition in the case was dismissed on April 11, 2014 and Memon had sufficient notice of 16 months before his execution. He said Memon was served the death warrant 17 days prior to his execution, whereas the minimum requirement is only 14 days.
In the order, the bench said the execution was "inevitable" after rejection of the mercy petitions.
"The President rejected after due consideration of all relevant facts... 22 yeras have passed since the incident... there is no error in judgments passed by this court,"Justice Misra said, dismissing Memon's last appeal before the Supreme Court.
|1||11 a.m. (July 29): A 14—page mercy petition written by Memon is submitted to President Pranab Mukherjee’s office. >Read more|
|2||4 p.m. (July 29): The President sends the mercy petition to Home ministry for necessary action. >Read more|
|3||8.30 p.m. (July 29): Union Home Minister Rajnath drives to Rashtrapati Bhawan and conveys Government’s decision rejecting Memon’s mercy petition. >Read more|
|4||9.15 p.m. (July 29): Union Home Secretary L.C. Goyal and Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar arrive at Rashtrapati Bhawan.|
|5||10.45 p.m. (July 29): President rejects mercy petition of Memon. >Read more|
|6||10.45 p.m. (July 29): Noted lawyers Prashant Bhushan and Anand Grover reach residence of Chief Justice of India Justice H.L. Dattu with a fresh petition seeking stay of death warrant. >Read more|
|7||11:30 p.m. (July 29): Other judges arrive at Justice Dattu’s residence.|
|8||01.00 a.m. (July 30): Scene shifts to residence of senior Supreme Court judge Justice Dipak Misra’s residence. >Read more|
|9||01.30 a.m. (July 30): Lawyers reach residence of Justice Misra.|
|10||01.35 a.m.(July 30): Three judges — Justices Mishra, Prafulla Chandra Pant, Amitava Roy — agree to meet at Supreme Court at 2.30 AM.|
|11||02.10 a.m. (July 30): A constable of Nagpur Central Jail hands over a letter to Memon’s brother at a hotel in Nagpur.|
|12||02.30 a.m. (July 30): Judges arrive in the apex court. Hearing deferred as delay in arrival of Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi.|
|13||03.20 a.m. (July 30): Hearing on the review petition begins. >Read more|
|14||04.50 a.m. (July 30): Court rejects the petition. >Read more|
|15||6.35 a.m. (July 30): Yakub Memom hanged >Read more|