Bad choices are sometimes more than mere mistakes.
Yakub Memon was hanged yesterday, 30th July 2015. He was found guilty of conspiracy of terrorist bomb attack killing 257 people and injuring over 700 people in Bombay in 1993. His second petition to Supreme Court was dismissed during the day. However certain legal and political intelligentsia decided that it would be in ‘public interest’ to challenge the hanging of Yakub. This public interest petition was heard during the night by Supreme Court and rejected at 3.00AM on 30th July 2015. First a little background about public interest litigation.
Public interest litigation.
Public interest litigation in India is similar to Class action suits in USA except that in India only High Court and Supreme Court have exercised it in writ jurisdiction.
A litigation can only be started by a person aggrieved. That is the law. If a cause of action is personal i.e. not relating to estate, it dies with claimant/plaintiff/petitioner. Public Interest Litigation is an exception in which a person can approach the court to seek redress on behalf of another person or class of persons if such person(s) are underprivileged or in disability.
A question which was neither raised nor decided by Supreme Court, was Yakub under disability? His lawyers argued whole day, how come a bunch of media coverage loving people suddenly became the sponsors of Yakub Memon, at night fall?
The Lawyers at forefront of PIL to postpone hanging, were those who were not able to live without being in front of camera or without headlines in newspaper. Unfortunate truth is eminence is often resulted from TV news coverage. More coverage more eminence. All the people gathered to raise PIL, were in it for a quick opportunity for publicity. Nothing more.
The legal issues involved in PIL:
The PIL which raised the issues, had two substantial ones. Though court have given slightly different reasons for rejection, but let me explain it in my way.
14 days notice of death warrant execution:
The PIL demanded that the warrant of death may be stayed for 14 days as his second petition was dismissed only in the day. As per previous judgements Supreme Court has held that a death row convict must have 14 days time to meet relatives and family and make other preparations. Yakima was given 17 days time as he was informed of death warrent on 13th July. It was only there after he moved his curative petition, meet petitions in fact a barrage of legal petitions before different forums. All were disposed off one day before the date of execution of sentence. Now if plea of this enthusiasts were to be accepted, what will happen if Yakub decided to file more petitions in next 14 days? As per these bright lawyers’ interpretation, execution shall wait till disposal and thereafter another 14 days reprieve.
A child can see how stupidly endless this process can become. Court dismissed the plea without elaborating the consequences by using the term ‘travesty of justice’.
Non disclosure of pretrial deal with Govt.:
In my previous article, I have agreed that this issue has weight for argument. But can this be a matter of PIL? Yakub who was party to such possible deal would have swear on oath to bring this as a matter of fact that such deal was there. A published article of a dead official of Govt. would not be enough. This is a legal matter. Irregularity much less illegality in trial can not be assumed merely some lawyers personal opinion is in its favour.
Illegality in trial is a very serious matter and can not be assumed on surmises and opinions.
Bad citizen but excellent father:
Why Yakub did not raise the issue of suppression of his alleged deal with Govt?:
Since my previous article, I have been wondering as to why Yakub Memon remained silent. I had also formulated some questions begging answers. Now I think I have figures it out. After living in Pakistan, away from friends and relatives and always under surveillance, Yakub realised that he could not deprive his daughter and family the liberal atmosphere of India to grow up. This was the reason he had decided to flip to India. But once he landed in Jail, his Pakistani Masters told him that his family is vulnerable even in India therefore he must keep his mouth shut. He did. So obvious.
BTW as per reports, immediately before death, the last conversation he had, as his last wish, was with his daughter.
If only Yakub had been a half good as a citizen as he was a father, people would not have died and he would not have been hanged.
Loyalty and law:
Loyalty is an important virtue. Every person in this sub-continent knows it as a fact. But loyalty can not be above law and certainly not above human life. With Yakub, his family and many others (including a Muslim film star) calling him innocent, pricks me to dwell into this matter.
Facts show that funds were received in Yakub’s accounts and distributed to people and resources which caused bomb blast. Is this the defence of Yakub that he never questioned his brother and was transferring funds on his behalf, as a loyal brother? Alas we will never know because Yakub never told his side of story. Prosecution proved facts enough to implicate but Yakub raised no defence. Hi loyalty to brother or fear for his family or both landed him to fate of death.
It may be unfortunate for him but justice convicts on facts not feelings. Much less I revealed feelings. A person can not travel on two boats and blame some one for his fall. Yakub wanted justice but without cooperating to tell his side of story. Of course he had valid reasons. So did the prosecution and the executioner.
Those crying crocodile tears for Yakub, better find the answers for questions I raised in earlier article and only there after question his sentence.
Disclaimer: 1. The entire article is imaginary and based on news reports and does not claim to be true representation of record as I have checked none.
2. I do not support sentence of death in any way and shall soon write about that as well. But that debate has to be on principle not on people.