Posts tagged ‘supreme court’

July 29, 2011

Kasab appeals against death sentence in SC Delhi: Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving Pakistani terrorist involved in the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the death sentence awarded to him.

As per reports, Kasab has filed his appeal with the help of Arthur Road Jail authorities.

His appeal has been sent to the Supreme Court Secretary-General. Once the appeal is processed and numbered by the registry, the Supreme Court will list it for hearing.

Kasab, who in many ways represents the face of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in India, was sentenced to the death by a trial court in May 2010 after it found him guilty of 80 offences, including waging war against the nation.

The trial court verdict was upheld by the Mumbai High Court on February 21, 2011.

Kasab, who hails from Faridkot village in Pakistan’s Punjab province, was among the group of terrorists who came from Pakistan by boat and staged 10 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai for three days from 26 November 2008.

Kasab was under instructions from his Pakistani handlers to keep killing until he died, but was captured by police. During interrogation, he revealed that he and the other gunmen had plans to kill 5,000 people and destroy the Taj Mahal Hotel.

Kasab was convicted based on CCTV footage showing him striding across the Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus with an AK-47 and a backpack. While convicting him, the court had ruled that Kasab was guilty of directly killing seven people and a total of 59 with associate Abu Ismail, who was shot dead after running into a police picket at Girgaum Chowpatty.

Kasab appeals against death sentence in SC In the 21 February order upholding Kasab’s death sentence, a two-judge division bench of the High Court comprising justices Ranjana Desai and RV More had observed, “This is rarest of rare matter so he should face capital punishment.”

Highlighting the magnitude of the attack, and extent of planning that went into it, the court considered him “a threat to society.”


July 4, 2011

SC rejects plea for quashing of Sanjay Dutt’s bail

 New Delhi: The Supreme Court today dismissed Bollywood film producer Shakeel Noorani’s plea seeking cancellation of actor Sanjay Dutt’s bail in the 1993 Mumbai serial blast case.

Noorani, who is involved in a financial dispute with the actor, had approached the apex court alleging that he is being threatened by underworld on Dutt’s behest.

Dismissing his petition, a bench of justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan said, “You cannot use this court to solve your financial disputes in a criminal case.”

“How is the producer involved in this (Mumbai blast) criminal case? You file an FIR. We are dismissing your petition,” the bench said.

Advocate Sanjay Hegde, appearing for the producer, pleaded that the bench hear his petition and pointed out that Noorani has already filed an FIR but nothing is being done about it.

“My life is being threatened by the underworld and I have already filed an FIR in the case,” Hedge said on behalf of his client.

Dutt was granted bail in 2007 on his appeal challenging his conviction in the Mumbai serial blasts. A special TADA court in Mumbai had in November 2006 acquitted Dutt of TADA charges but had held him guilty under the Arms Act for possessing a weapon illegally. He was sentenced to six years? imprisonment.


March 7, 2011

Aruna Shanbaug case: Supreme Court rejects euthanasia plea


New Delhi: Aruna Shanbaug has not walked or spoken a word in 37 years. Since she was raped by a sweeper at her hospital in 1973, she has not left the hospital where she was once a bright capable nurse. Nurses change her diapers, feed her and calm her when she gets restless – usually if there are more than a few people in her room at Mumbai’s King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital.

Her condition has been described as semi-comatose and vegetative. But the Supreme Court today ruled that euthanasia is not a permissible option for Ms Shanbaug – at least not on the basis of the current appeal. “We have no indication of Aruna Shanbaug’s views or wishes,” the judges said.

A petition for euthanasia was first filed for Ms Shanbaug by Pinky Virani, a journalist who has written a book on the woman who she says is being forced to live her life stripped of basic dignity. The Supreme Court praised Ms Virani’s concern, but ruled that her relationship with the patient does not give her right to petition on Ms Shanbaug’s behalf for a mercy killing. The only party that can appeal for euthanasia for Ms Shanbaug is the staff of KEM Hospital which has nursed her since she was discovered in the basement, an iron chain around her neck, 11 hours after she had been sodomized by a ward boy who she had scolded for stealing food that was meant for stray animals adopted by the hospital. The chain used to strangle her had cut off the supply of oxygen to her brain. The damage was irreversible.

Ms Shanbaug has, however, changed forever India’s approach to the contentious issue of euthanasia. The verdict on her case today allows passive euthanasia contingent upon circumstances. So other Indians can now argue in court for the right to withhold medical treatment – take a patient off a ventilator, for example, in the case of an irreversible coma. Today’s judgement makes it clear that passive euthanasia will “only be allowed in cases where the person is in persistent vegetative state or terminally ill.

In each case, the relevant high court will evaluate the merits of the case, and refer the case to a medical board before deciding on whether passive euthanasia can apply. And till Parliament introduces new laws on euthanasia, it is Ms Shanbaug’s case that is to be used as a point of reference by other courts.

The judge who says that a CD he reviewed of Ms  Shanbaug shows “She is certainly not brain-dead. She expresses her likes or dislike with sounds and movements. She smiles when given her favourite food…she gets disturbed when many people enter her room and calms down when touched gently.”

Ms Virani issued this statement after his verdict. “Because of the Aruna Shanbaug case, the Supreme Court of India has permitted Passive Euthanasia, which means that Aruna’s state will worsen with persistent diarrhoea as her body cannot handle much of that being put through the pipe; no catheter to catch body fluids and waste matter which excrete themselves; lengthening response times due to a ‘sinking’. But, because of this woman who has never received justice, no other person in a similar position will have to suffer for more than three-and-a-half decades.”

At the hospital which is Ms Shanbuag’s home, nurses celebrated the verdict by distributing sweets. We will share a small piece with her to, said one of them. The medical attention they have lavished on Ms Shanbug was praised by the judge today in his verdict.

But in an allusion that suggests he was aware of exactly how tough Ms Shanbaug’s life is, he quoted the poet Mirza Ghalib too.  “Marte hain aarzoo mein marne ki…maut aati hai par nahin aati (I die for Death, Death knocks, but comes not…)”.

March 3, 2011

Thomas out as CVC: Supreme Court


New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that PJ Thomas’ appointment as Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) is invalid. The Prime Minister and Home Minister, who were two of the three members of the committee that chose him, have been criticized severely by the court.

The third member of that committee, who was Leader of the Opposition, Sushma Swaraj, had objected strongly to Mr Thomas being made CVC because he is accused of corruption himself in a case that goes back to the early 90s, when he was a senior bureaucrat in Kerala.

Like Ms Swaraj, the Supreme Court has argued that Mr Thomas cannot be in charge of fighting corruption as the Central Vigilance Commissioner when his own integrity is being questioned.

The government, in its defense, had argued in court that the biodata for Mr Thomas considered by the PM did not refer to the corruption charges against him. The Supreme Court has rejected that stand, stating that the committee headed by the PM should have “gone beyond the documents” presented to it.

Ms Swaraj, who has voiced her opposition to Mr Thomas’ appointment at different public forums, tweeted after the verdict this morning, “The dignity of the office of CVC has been restored.”

As Food Secretary in Kerala in the early 90s, Mr Thomas campaigned aggressively for the import of edible oil from Malaysia. It later emerged that the price paid for the oil – palmolein – was unjustifiably high.  He has since been charged with corruption and conspiracy.
Those charges are why his appointment has been challenged in the Supreme Court by different Public Interest Litigation cases.

Mr Thomas has repeatedly told the court that the fact that he was promoted over the last few years by the Vigilance Commission proves that the charges against him are incorrect and should not affect his career.

Mr Thomas was privately pressured by the government to resign, but has fought back. That’s caused considerable embarrassment for the government which has in the past few months been bruised black and blue by a flood of corruption scandals. Leading that list is the 2G spectrum scam which pushed A Raja from the Telecom Minister’s office into jail. Mr Raja stands accused of abusing his position and manipulating government policies to award licences for mobile networks at throwaway prices to companies that rewarded him privately with huge kickbacks.

Mr Thomas was Telecom Secretary till he was made Central Vigilance Commissioner. The Supreme Court, which is also monitoring the CBI’s investigation into the spectrum scam, suggested that it would be inappropriate for Mr Thomas to preside over an inquiry that could subject his own actions in the Telecom Ministry to scrutiny. Mr Thomas then recused himself from the 2G investigation.