Pakistani gunman Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab will have to content himself watching, via video link, the proceedings pertaining to confirmation of his death penalty and the hearing on his appeal against conviction in the 26/11 case before the Bombay High Court.
Kasab will not be personally produced before high court for the proceedings, as a division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice RV More, on Monday, dismissed his plea to allow him to attend the proceedings.
Instead, the bench directed special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam to provide for a video conferencing facility so that the Lashkar-e-Taiba operative could watch the proceedings live and interact with the court and his lawyers.
Advocate Farhana Shah, appointed along with Amin Solkar to defend the Pakistani national, had filed an application on behalf of the Pakistani national stating he wanted to attend the hearing.
The application was filed after Shah met the LeT operative at Arthur Road jail – as directed by the court to find if he wanted to attend the proceedings. Nikam pointed out the threat perception apprehended by the police while opposing the plea of personal presence.
The bench dismissed the plea observing, “We see no reason to disbelieve the threat perception apprehended by
The judges also noted there was no legal provision requiring the presence of the accused during the hearing of their confirmation cases, although, as a matter of prudence those accused are allowed to personally attend such proceedings.
The court also discarded a suggestion from Nikam that the hearing could be conducted at the court established within Arthur Road Prison, where the 26/11 trial had been held. “You want us to go there,” asked the judges, who then told Nikam that it was “the last thing they expected from him.”
The judges also clarified that they would go ahead with the hearing on the confirmation case on the next date – October 18 – irrespective of whether Kasab’s appeal against his conviction was filed or not. Incidentally, Kasab’s appeal has not yet been filed.
Notably, the appeal can now be filed only after September 28, when the court is likely to hear both sides on whether to allow Solkar and Shah to conduct Kasab’s legal interview in the presence of jail authorities within audible distance or not.