Interview: 'Yakub Memon has made a mockery out of the system'

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Yakub Memon has filed yet another plea seeking a stay on his death sentence. The Maharashtra Government had fixed July 30, Thursday, as the date for the execution of Memon who was convicted for his role in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.

Legal experts say that this is nothing but a mockery of justice. He continues to file petitions in the courts and also before the Governor and this has done nothing but mock the laws and also delay the entire procedure. [Disowned by his own? No cleric ready for Yakub's last rites]

H S Chandramouli, the former state public prosecutor of Karnataka who has dealt with 20 cases of death sentences says that "Memon has been just adding to hurdles". [Yakub Memon moves SC again, seeks stay of death sentence]

yakub memon

In this interview with OneIndia, Chandramouli says that it is high time that the Supreme Court steps in and makes a clear law which would put an end to this sort of litigations, especially in cases of capital punishment. [Yakub Memon's final days]

Here are the excerpts:

What are your thoughts on the litigations that have followed in the aftermath of Yakub Memon's execution date being fixed?

I would say it is the most unfortunate. He just seems to filing petition after petition and has made a mockery out of the system. It is unfortunate that an ordinary person is taken into custody and tried in no time and given no option to appeal. However, in the case of Memon he is being permitted to create as many legal hurdles as possible.

Is Memon allowed to file so many petitions?

In the case of capital punishment, after the Supreme Court rejects a plea it is the President of India who has the final word. As a convict, he can continue to file petitions, but then the courts must put a stop to it. There are no clear guidelines issued by the Supreme Court on this matter which gives such persons the liberty to continue exploring options.

What should be considered in mercy petitions?

In a mercy petition there are a few factors that are taken into consideration. Here is a man who has acted against the national interest. He is an anti social who has no place in society. There is no place for him to live in a civilized society.

When he goes up in a mercy petition, he can only cite changed circumstances. It could be an age factor, health or delay in deciding his case.

It is entirely up to the President of India to take a call on the subject. As per the law, after the President decides on a mercy petition there is no more scope for litigation.

What needs to be done to avoid such dragging mechanisms?

A person convicted for murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code should not be permitted to drag the matter. It is for the legislature and also the courts to decide and fix a mechanism where convicts are not able to drag the matter on unecessarily.

The problem lies in the political appointment of Presidents. They tend to cater to the vote bank of the political parties and often bring in religion, caste among other factors which contributes to the delay. Ideally, a period of 45 days needs to be fixed in cases of capital punishment.

Should filing of multiple mercy petitions be stopped?

Yes, I think it needs to be stopped. The Government of India had told the Supreme Court that a mechanism needs to be put in place to stop this practice. The Supreme Court needs to ensure that there is a finality in cases of capital punishment. If mercy petitions are allowed to be filed over and over again, then it tends to become a precedent.

What if the Maharashtra Governor took a contrary view to the capital punishment awarded?

This is again a subject matter of debate. Once the President of India and the Supreme Court of India have decided on the matter, there shall be no more scope for review. After the trial court issues the death sentence, there is always the High Court, Supreme Court and the President before who an appeal can be preferred. I feel that there is no need to continue giving death row convicts more options.

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