‘Different yardstick applied in Yakub’s case’

Memon mentally unfit and suffering from schizophrenia, say petitioners

Updated - November 16, 2021 05:10 pm IST

Published - July 27, 2015 12:52 am IST - NEW DELHI

Seeking a stay on 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon’s execution — activists, jurists and party leaders — in a mercy petition to President Pranab Mukherjee said he was “mentally unfit” and suffering from schizophrenia for the past 20 years.

Home Ministry officials said they have not received a copy of the petition yet. As per norms, the President’s House will send the mercy petition to the Home Ministry for further action.

Last year, on the advice of the Home Ministry, the President had rejected Memon’s mercy petition.

The petitioners have also attached a copy of an article written by B. Raman, who headed the Pakistan Desk at the Research and Analysis Wing, as to why Yakub should not be hanged.

In the new petition, the signatories claimed that there are “substantive and fresh grounds” that can be considered on merits.

“Yakub Memon has served more than 20 years in prison since his arrest. His trial took 14 years to complete. While the Hon’ble Supreme Court used this long period of incarceration as a mitigating circumstance to commute the death sentences of the other 10 co-accused persons, it applied a different yardstick to Yakub,” the petition said.

It further said that “as per the case of the prosecution, the 1993 bomb blasts were orchestrated by Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim to seek revenge for the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. Both Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim have been absconding and Yakub, brother of Tiger Memon, who was not the main actor in the conspiracy is being executed.”

“The TADA court convicted 100 people and awarded death penalty to 11 persons. In appeal, the Supreme Court commuted the death sentences of all the convicts except Yakub Memon. In comparison to Yakub Memon, the 10 co-accused whose death sentences were commuted planted the bombs themselves and played a much more critical and direct role in the actual execution of the bomb blast conspiracy. Several of them even travelled to Pakistan for arms training. This shows Yakub Memon is facing an imminent execution only on account of being Tiger Memon’s younger brother,” it said.

“Unlike the main accused, Yakub Memon surrendered before the authorities, a fact which has been confirmed on July 24 by the then officer in charge of the entire operation, B. Raman. Yakub Memon is the person who has provided information about Pakistan involvement. His execution will weaken the case against the involvement of the Pakistan agencies as there are no other witnesses available,” it said.

‘Subjective factors’

“It is also worthwhile to note that death sentences imposed on the aides of Veerappan [convicted and sentenced to death under TADA], Rajiv Gandhi’s killers and Devender Pal Singh Bhullar have been commuted recently by the Supreme Court. While the mercy petitions of Verappan’s aides, Rajiv Gandhi’s three killers and Devender Pal Singh Bhullar were decided belatedly by the President, thereby giving them the claim of delay in jurisprudence, the Home Ministry has moved swiftly to reject Yakub Memon’s mercy petition. It seems that subjective factors are the basis of decisions which lead to arbitrary actions,” the petition read.

Memon is scheduled to be executed on July 30 as per the warrant issued by the TADA court.

The petition has come at a time when there is a huge political controversy over Yakub’s hanging and the BJP has condemned the remarks by parties as “petty politics.”

BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, among the signatories, who had a day before met and praised Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, has once again gone against the party’s stand on the issue.

In the 15-page petition, the signatories have cited various legal points and international commitments to argue that Yakub should not be hanged.

“We most humbly request your Excellency to consider the case of Yakub Memon and spare him from the noose of death for a crime that was master-minded by someone else to communally divide the country.

“Grant of mercy in this case will send out a message that while this country will not tolerate acts of terrorism, as a nation we are committed to equal application of the power of mercy and values of forgiveness and justice. Blood letting and human sacrifice will not make this country a safer place; it will, however, degrade us all,” the signatories said.

Various academicians, members of the legal fraternity, activists and retired judges have signed the petition including Justice Panachand Jain, Justice H. S. Bedi, Justice P. B. Sawant, Justice H. Suresh, Justice K.P. Siva Subramaniam, Justice S.N. Bhargava, Justice K. Chandru, and Justice Nagmohan Das, noted lawyer Indira Jaising and N. Ram, senior journalist.

Besides Mr. Sinha and former BJP MP Ram Jethmalani, those who have signed the petition include MPs such as Mani Shankar Aiyar (Congress), Majeed Memon (NCP), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), D. Raja (CPI), and T. Siva (DMK), former CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI(ML)-Liberation general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, Brinda Karat (CPI-M) and filmmakers and actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Mahesh Bhatt, M.K. Raina and Tushar Gandhi.

(For the full list of signatories log on to www.thehindu.com)

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