The special court’s sentencing of Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab does not mean the end of the road for him, but the state government on Thursday made it clear it would press for early execution.
The death sentence pronounced by judge M.L. Tahilyani will have to be confirmed by the Bombay High Court.
According to the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) that all courts in India follow, any death sentence given by a trial court has to be referred to the high court within 60 days. The HC has a year to confirm or commute the sentence.
The state said it would request the judiciary to speed up the process “considering the significant nature of the case”.
“We [will] get the verdict ratified by the high court as early as possible,” Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said. “We want Kasab hanged at the earliest.”
In case the HC upholds the sentence, Kasab can move Supreme Court. He will have to find a lawyer to defend him. If he doesn’t, but tells the HC he would like to appeal, a court-appointed lawyer will take up his case before the SC. If the SC too upholds the verdict, Kasab can file a mercy petition with the President.
There are 51 convicts on death row in India. It is not necessary that the sentence has to be carried out only after all other convicts have been hanged. If the matter does not go to SC, or if either the SC or the President upholds the sentence, the Centre can term this a special case and order execution out of turn.
If the high court commutes Kasab’s sentence, the state will move Supreme Court. “We will ask the SC to fast-track hearing of appeal (by Kasab or the state),” Chavan said.
Inputs from Sayli Udas-Mankikar