The Supreme Court on Friday declined to grant an early hearing to Sanjay Dutt who has challenged the conviction and six-year sentence awarded to him in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case.
A bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Dutt’s bail application and fixed August 20 to hear his plea along with those of the other convicts who have challenged the TADA court’s verdict. “We will have uniform standards (for all the cases in Mumbai blasts case),” it added.
Appearing for the 48-year-old actor, senior counsel Fali S Nariman mentioned the case and said he wanted only five minutes on Monday but the court did not oblige him.
At the outset, Nariman complained that the TADA judge did not give a copy of the judgment to the convicts as required under the Criminal Procedure Code that was a violation of his right to life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. He said: “He has been out on bail for 12 years and then he has suddenly been taken in…The TADA judge says the judgment will be ready by August 24. But then why should I (Dutt) remain in jail?”
The court said it would consider if the judgment was ready by that time even as Nariman said “we are not ready to wait that much.”
On Thursday, the court had refused to include Dutt’s appeal and bail application in the list of cases scheduled to come up for hearing on Friday.
The actor has sought suspension of his sentence and grant of bail pending hearing on his appeal on the ground that he was sent to jail without even being given a copy of the conviction judgment.
Meanwhile, the court also issued notices to CBI on two different petitions related to the case and posted the hearing for August 20. Ibrahim Musa Chauhan who had allegedly provided arms to Dutt was convicted by the TADA court on six charges, while Mohammad Ahmed Shaikh was the first convict to have challenged the judgment. In his appeal, Shaikh has challenged Dutt’s acquittal under TADA.
Citing a SC judgment, Chauhan’s advocate Sree Prakash Sinha submitted that a sentence pronounced before completing the judgment was illegal and vitiated the conviction order.