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'No personal interest in Afzal's execution'

Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 03, 2011
First Published: 00:03 IST(3/3/2011) | Last Updated: 00:05 IST(3/3/2011)

A day after slamming the government for inordinate delays in arriving at a decision on Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru's mercy plea, Justice SN Dhingra on Wednesday said he did not have any personal interest in the matter.


"I cannot have any personal interest in Afzal Guru's hanging nor am I personally aggrieved. My job, as a judge, was to decide the case on the basis of evidence and give the sentence. Now, it is for the Executive to take a decision on the hanging," Justice Dhingra told HT.

On the day of his retirement as a Delhi High Court judge, Justice Dhingra, who sentenced Guru to death, had on Tuesday said: "Ministers on various platforms criticise the judiciary for pendency and talk of speedy trial…they forget the Centre is unable to take a decision on his (Afzal's) mercy petition and on many others on death row for several years."

Dhingra, who pronounced judgment in the case, within a year, said mercy petitions did not require detailed examination, as there was no need to go into the specifics.

He added that the Centre needs only to look at the basis on which courts had come to such a conclusion.

"The Centre is unable to do even this much and at the same time, keeps blaming the judiciary for pendency," he said.

The Supreme Court had, in 2006, dismissed Guru's appeal against his death sentence, after which he had filed a mercy petition.

After shooting into the limelight with the order, Justice Dhingra, who became a Delhi High Court judge five years ago, has been widely acclaimed as a judge who boldly stood up for citizens rights in the capital and speedy trial.

Justice Dhingra has also been known to uphold the freedom of the press by ruling that journalists cannot be prosecuted for carrying out sting operations to expose corruption.

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