Due Process Should Have Been Followed in Yakub Memon Case: Justice AP Shah

Outgoing law commission chief, Justice AP Shah.

NEW DELHI The outgoing law commission chief, Justice AP Shah, has voiced strong reservations about the hanging of 1993 serial blast plotter Yakub Memon, speaking exclusively to NDTV, he said that convict’s mercy petition should have been further considered and due process should have been followed.

“I was stuck by two or three aspects of the case that really troubled me. Why this particular date was sacrosanct? Why when there was a reference to the larger bench, the court did not consider grant of the stay of the order? Why the accused or the convict was not given an opportunity of challenging the rejection of mercy petition,” said Justice Shah.

Earlier in July, Yakub Memon was executed at the Nagpur jail where he had spent almost half of his more than 20 years in prison since he was convicted for playing a crucial role in the serial bombings in Mumbai in which 257 people were killed in 1993.

Justice Shah’s comments come just a day after his panel recommended abolition of the death sentence except in terror cases, as that would be “more acceptable to people”. He however pointed out how France banned the death penalty in the De Galle regime even though public opinion wanted it to stay.

As he retires, he also gave his reasons for not accepting the Lokayukta job offered by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying, “It is the centre- state differences, which has affected bureaucrats, and others which I didn’t want to get into.”

When asked whether his decision was influenced by the fight between Mr Kejriwal and the Lieutenant Governor, he just laughed it off. He was speaking on the show, “Agenda”.
Mr Kejriwal and the Lt. Governor, through the Centre, are locked in a bitter turf war over who has the final say on all matters relating to administration in Delhi.