The Supreme Court on Monday appeared split over staying the death warrant against Yakub Memon — the lone death convict of the 1993 Mumbai blasts case — scheduled to be executed on July 30.
The bench of Justice AR Dave and Justice Kurien Joseph had divergent views, with the latter questioning the SC’s July 21 order rejecting Memon’s curative petition.
Justice Dave felt Memon had exhausted all his legal remedies and that his present petition against the warrant on the ground it was issued before the SC dismissed his curative petition was a futile exercise.
Justice Joseph, however, said he should have been part of the curative bench as he was one of the three judges who rejected Memon’s review petition on April 9. A bench of Justices Dave, J Chelameswar and Joseph were members of that bench. “But the curative petition was not served to us,” Justice Joseph asked attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Maharashtra government.
Curative petitions are not heard in open court and are circulated to the top three judges and to those who delivered the judgment under question. In Memon’s case, the two judges — Justices P Sathasivam and BS Chauhan — who in 2013 upheld the Mumbai TADA court’s July 27, 2007, order sentencing him to death had retired when the curative was heard.
Justice Joseph’s observations meant that since Memon’s curative petition was against dismissal of his review, he too should have been part of the curative bench. In wake of this, he felt Memon’s plea should be heard afresh.
Since the two judges did not come to a unanimous view, it posted the matter for a further hearing on Tuesday. In case the two still differ, Memon’s case could be referred to a larger bench, delaying his execution.
The bench also asked Rohatgi to clarify rules relating to curative petitions. Rohatgi, however, asserted Memon should be hanged on July 30 because he had no remedy left. He said his mercy plea before the President, too, had been rejected.