Yakub Memon final plea: How does a curative petition work?

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New Delhi, July 21: The Supreme Court of India will hear the curative petition filed by 1993 Mumbai serial blasts accused, Yakub Memon. This is the final round of litigation for Memon who was sentenced to death after his role in the dreaded terrorist attacks of 1993 was established.

The Curative Petition filed by Memon is quite strange. Once the President rejects a mercy petition filed by a death row convict, the issue is considered to be closed.

Yakub Memon and curative petition

Although there is no bar in a convict approaching the Supreme Court after the President has rejected a mercy plea, in 9 out of 10 cases, the Supreme Court has not entertained a curative plea.

What is a Curative Petition?

It was in the year 2002 that the Supreme Court had brought into force this concept called Curative Petition. While hearing the Rupa Ashok Hurra vs Ashok Hurra case in the year 2002, a question had arisen whether an aggrieved person is entitled for any sort of relief after the Supreme Court has passed a final order.

As per the rules after the Supreme Court issues an order an aggrieved party has the right to first file a review petition. The question that was raised in the year 2002 was what does an aggrieved person do even if his review petition is rejected?

The Supreme Court had held that in order to prevent abuse of its process and to cure gross miscarriage of justice, it may reconsider its judgements in exercise of its inherent powers. The court then came up with the term Curative Petition which loosely translated would be "to cure."

Guidelines in a Curative Petition

The person filing the Curative Petition is required to mention the grounds for filing such a petition. He or she will have to make out a ground to challenge the dismissal of the review petition filed before the Supreme Court.

A curative petition will have to be certified by a senior advocate. The curative petition will then have to be circulated among the three senior most judges of the Supreme Court and also the judges who had delivered the original verdict.

- -The petitioner will have to establish that there was a genuine violation of principles of natural justice and fear of the bias of the judge and judgement that adversely affected him.

- -The petition shall state specifically that the grounds mentioned had been taken in the review petition and that it was dismissed by circulation.

- -The curative petition must accompany certification by a senior lawyer relating to the fulfillment of the above requirements.

- -The petition is to be sent to the three senior most judges and judges of the bench who passed the judgement affecting the petition, if available.

- -If the majority of the judges on the above bench agree that the matter needs hearing, then it would be sent to the same bench (as far as possible).

- -The court could impose "exemplary costs" to the petitioner if his plea lacks merit.

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