Yakub Memon’s death penalty referred to larger bench

His execution was scheduled for July 30

New Delhi : A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court is likely to decide 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon’s fate on Wednesday after a two-judge bench on Tuesday remained split.

Justice A R Dave dismissed Yakub’s plea seeking stay of death warrant and told the Maharashtra governor to decide the mercy plea before July 30, the day scheduled for his hanging.

But, Justice Kurian Joseph himself dug out a point which was not raised by Yakub in his petition and on that basis held that the apex court did not follow correct procedure in dismissing his curative petition.

Justice Joseph said since procedure was not followed the curative petition dismissal was not proper and required fresh decision. Hence, the death warrant needed to be stayed, he said.

In view of the split decision, the 2-judge bench referred the issue to the CJI for setting up an appropriate bench on Wednesday to hear Yakub’s plea seeking stay of death warrant, reported Times of India.

Memon, the lone death convict in 1993 Mumbai blasts case, in his plea had claimed he was suffering from schizophrenia since 1996 and has remained behind the bars for nearly 20 years, much more than a person serving life term has to spend in jail. He had sought commutation of death penalty, contending that a convict cannot be awarded life term and the death sentence for the same offence.

The apex court had on June 2, 2014 stayed the execution of Memon and referred his plea to a Constitution bench as to whether review petitions in death penalty cases be heard in an open court or in chambers.

Twelve coordinated blasts had rocked Bombay, as the city was then known, on March 12, 1993, leaving 257 dead and over 700 injured.

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