Parliament attack case convict Mohammad Afzal, who is awaiting a decision by President on his mercy plea against the death penalty, has filed a curative petition in the Supreme Court on the ground that he did not get a fair trial.
In the petition filed through Counsel Kamini Jaiswal, Afzal urged the court to stay the death sentence awarded to him pending hearing and final disposal of the matter.
The curative petition is the last option available to an accused after exhausting all the appeals and dismissal of review petition in the Supreme Court.
He contended that the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution included the right to fair trial and his conviction was vitiated for want of proper legal representation.
Afzal, who was represented by an advocate provided by the Legal Aid Authority of the State, claimed that he did not get a fair trial in the absence of representation by a competent lawyer.
The apex court had dismissed Afzal's review petition against the August 4, 2005 verdict upholding the death sentence awarded to him by the trial court and confirmed by the Delhi High Court for his involvement in the conspiracy to attack Parliament with a view to liquidate the country's leadership.
The Supreme Court had upheld the acquittal of Delhi University Lecturer SAR Geelani and the lone woman accused, Navjot Sandhu alias Afsan Guru, wife of Shaukat Guru.Shaukat, who was awarded 10-year rigorous imprisonment in the case, has also filed a curative petition.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice YK Sabharval could not conclude the chamber discussion on the case on Wednesday and adjourned it to a later date.
Generally, curative petitions are decided in the very first sitting but this was for the third time that the court adjourned the hearing on Shaukat's curative petition.
Shaukat has challenged this conviction and sentence for concealing the information of conspiracy from the police on the ground that he was never tried for an offence under Section 123 of the IPC and no charge was framed against him under the this section by the trial court.
The trial court sentenced him to death, which was confirmed by the Delhi High Court.
However, the Supreme Court acquitted him of the charge of murder but held him guilty of deliberately concealing the information regarding the conspiracy thereby facilitating the December 13, 2001 attack on Parliament which resulted in the death of about 9 security personnel.