According to sources, the authorities have taken strong note of the fact that Surendranath got involved in Yakub’s case without permission.
Yakub Memon case amounted to “judicial abdication”.The Supreme Court administration is contemplating action against Dr Anup Surendranath, who resigned as the court’s Deputy Registrar (Research) on Friday, after expressing his opinion that its decision in the
The court administration feels it was “gross misconduct” on Surendranath’s part to have involved himself and the Death Penalty Research Project, of which he is a director, as co-petitioners to support Yakub’s case. Action may be taken against him on the grounds of violation of the terms of his assignment.
Surendranath had joined the Supreme Court over a year ago on deputation from Delhi’s National Law University (NLU), where he is a faculty member.
According to sources, the authorities have taken strong note of the fact that Surendranath got involved in Yakub’s case without permission though regulations bar him from contesting a case in his individual capacity, particularly when it did not relate to his service conditions.
Surendranath was being paid from the consolidated fund of the Supreme Court as its official and he was obligated to act in compliance with its norms, sources told The Indian Express.
The court registry has decided to write to his parent institution, the NLU, pointing at Surendranath’s “impropriety” and for taking appropriate action against him. Sources said the communication would be sent soon. The NLU, established under the NLU Delhi Act, has the Chief Justice of India as its Visitor, while the chief justice of the Delhi High Court is its chancellor.
At the same time, Supreme Court Secretary General V S R Avadhani denied reports that Surendranath resigned in protest against Yakub’s execution. “This is not only incorrect but highly misleading,” said an official release, adding that Surendranath was on deputation and had been “repatriated” to the NLU on his request.
The release attached Surendranath’s resignation letter, where he said he would like to return to the NLU to pursue his research interests and other projects. The letter added: “I thank you and the Supreme Court of India for this wonderful opportunity over the last one year. It has provided me the opportunity to understand the Supreme Court much better and I will be forever grateful for that.”
While Surendranath may not have cited the Yakub case in his resignation letter, in his Facebook post on Friday night, he said, “I have been contemplating this for a while now for a variety of reasons, but what was played out this week at the Supreme Court was the proverbial final nail — I have resigned from my post at the Supreme Court to focus on death penalty work at the university.”
He added, “It is in many ways liberating to regain the freedom to write whatever I want and I hope to make full use of that in the next few days to discuss the events that transpired at the Supreme Court this week.”
Hours after Yakub’s execution on Thursday morning, Surendranath had posted: “It would be silly and naive to see the events of the last 24 hours at the Supreme Court as some triumph of the rule of law — the two orders at 4 pm on 29th July and 5 am on 30th July (and the reasoning adopted therein) are instances of judicial abdication that must count amongst the darkest hours for the Supreme Court of India.”
An attempt by Yakub and the Death Penalty Research Project to have the execution stayed over legality of the death warrant had first failed on July 29. After this petition was dismissed, Yakub’s lawyers and Surendranath’s team had camped outside the Chief Justice of India’s office to secure a pre-dawn hearing on Thursday. The second attempt also failed, and Yakub was executed at 7 am on Thursday.