After receiving a second mercy petition — 2,581 pages long — filed by 1993 serial blasts convict Yakub Memon on Wednesday, state government officials began hectic deliberations on whether it would be possible to stick to the date fixed for Memon’s execution, July 30.
The government wants to dispose of Memon’s petition as quickly as possible, a source said, adding that the state has apprised Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and the central government about the situation in view of Memon’s latest petition.
Following the trial court’s order, the state government planned to hang Memon at Nagpur Central Jail on July 30, his 53rd birthday. But now there are doubts as to whether the execution can be carried out as scheduled, considering the time it will take to process Memon’s mercy petition.
Highly placed sources said the home department will send the petition to the governor with its advice on Thursday, and to the central government a day or two later. Though the governor is not expected to take much time for a decision (as it will most likely be based on the government’s advice), it is primarily the state’s and central government’s responsibility to check the petition’s tenability.
Whether or not the petition is tenable depends on the grounds on which it has been filed. According to the officials from the home department, if the reasons given in the new petition do not differ from those in the first petition, it will not be admitted by the competent authorities – the governor of Maharashtra and the President of India. If the government finds the petition to be untenable, it can be rejected by the governor straight away, based on the ‘advice’ of the state, the official said.
But in case it is found to be tenable, the governor may take more time arrive at a decision and may direct the state government to stay Memon’s execution with the permission of the TADA court. The stay can be initiated in consultation with the central government and by taking the petition to the President. Also, if the petition is deemed tenable, the Supreme Court’s guidelines, which specify a 14-day gap between deciding on a mercy petition and executing a convict, will kick in, putting the July 30 execution date in further doubt.
Vijay Satbir Singh, principal secretary (home), said, “We are seeking legal advice from our internal experts before the petition is sent to the governor along with the advice of the government as specified in the Constitution of India.”
“According to Supreme Court guidelines, mercy petition are expected to be disposed of within seven days, though this deadline is not followed in most cases. Our endeavour is to dispose of it by the weekend. This is the reason we informed the central government about it immediately,” said another official from the home department, who did not wish to be named.