Yakub Abdul Razak Memon v. State of Maharashtra and Anr.
The Supreme Court Bench assembled at about 3.15 a.m. on 30.07.2015, the day Yakub Memon was to be hanged at 7 am, to hear the present Writ Petition challenging the execution warrant issued by the Designated TADA Court, Mumbai and further to direct the stay of the petitioner’s execution till the writ petition was disposed of. The petitioner submitted that he was entitled in law to challenge the same albeit on a limited ground as per judgment in Shatrughan Chauhan & Anr. v. Union of India &Ors [(2014) 3 SCC 1]. The fresh ground taken was that the President of India had rejected the mercy petition of the petitioner. When a mercy petition was rejected, there had to be a minimum period of 14 days between its rejection being communicated to the petitioner and his family and the scheduled date of execution. That apart, minimum period of 14 days was stipulated between the communication of the death warrant to the petitioner and the scheduled date of execution.
The question for consideration before the Supreme Court was whether on the ground of not granting of 14 days’ time from the date of receipt of communication of rejection of the mercy petition, should the warrant which was going to be executed at 7.00 a.m. on 30.07.2015 be stayed.
It was submitted by the State that the mercy petition was considered by the President of India in exercise of his power under Article 72 of the Constitution of India and when he had rejected the mercy petition after due consideration of all the relevant facts on earlier occasion, if such kind of repetitive mercy petitions were allowed to be submitted and further challenge to the rejection of the same was permitted, the danger of the concept of ad infinitum would enter into the field. Also that everybody could add a new fact or a new development and expect the President of India to deal with it as contemplated under Article 72 of the Constitution of India and, thereafter, challenge the same in a court of law.
The Supreme Court observed that instant petition was a clear expose of the manipulation of the principle of rule of law. The petitioner was tried for “Bombay Blast Case’ and was convicted in the year 2007. Almost 22 years had passed since 1993, when the incident had occurred. No error was perceived in the issue of the death warrant as per order dated 29.07.2015 passed in W.P. (Crl) No.129 of 2015.
The petitioner submitted that he could still challenge the rejection of his mercy petition. The Supreme Court observed that the rejection of the first mercy petition by the President of India could have been assailed before the Supreme Court, but it was not done. The copy of the order of rejection of the mercy petition had been sent to the petitioner, but despite sufficient time, the petitioner chose not to challenge the same. Hence it was a case of such nature where it could not be said that legal remedy was denied to the petitioner. Though the first mercy petition was submitted by the brother of the petitioner, but he was aware of the same. He had written a letter to the concerned Superintendent of Jail pertaining to the same. Thus the Supreme Court did not accept the submission that the present mercy petition was preferred by the petitioner for the first time and, therefore, 14 days’ time should be granted so that he could do the needful as per law. Any grant of time to challenge the rejection of the second mercy petition for which the execution of the death warrant dated 30.04.2015 would be stayed, would be nothing but travesty of justice. Hence the writ petition was dismissed.