New Delhi, Sep 26 :
The Supreme Court Friday stayed execution of the death sentence of 1993 Mumbai bomb blast convict Yakub Abdul Razak Memon as it issued notice to Maharashtra government on his petition seeking an open court hearing of his plea for the review of the apex court’s verdict upholding his death penalty.
Extending the June 2 order suspending his death sentence, a bench of Justice T.S.Thakur, Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice R. Banumathi in their order said that the execution of the death sentence will be stayed.
Seeking the revival of his review petition, which was earlier dismissed after being considered in the chamber by the judges, Memon relied on Sep 2 verdict of the apex court’s constitution bench which had held that a petition seeking the recall of the apex court’s order upholding the death sentence will be heard in an open court by a bench of three judges.
The constitution bench in its Sep 2 order had also said: “It will also apply where a review petition is already dismissed but the death sentence is not executed so far. In such cases, the petitioners can apply for the reopening of their review petition within one month from the date of this judgment.”
Memon is the second death row convict whose plea for recall of the order upholding the death sentence is being revived after it was dismissed earlier.
On Sep 12, the court had fixed Oct 29 for an open court hearing of Nithari serial killer death row convict Surendra Koli’s review plea which had also been dismissed earlier.
The Supreme Court March 21, 2013, had upheld the death sentence awarded to Memon by the special (now lapsed) TADA (Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act) court and confirmed by the Bombay High Court.
Memon has been described as a mastermind of 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts – a series of 13 explosions in India’s business capital March 12, 1993, which claimed 257 lives and left 713 injured.
President Pranab Mukherjee May 21 rejected Memon’s mercy plea. He applied for presidential pardon in October 2013.
The TADA trial court presided over by Justice P.D. Kode had commenced the trial Nov 4, 1993, and pronounced its 4,230-page verdict July 31, 2007.
The trial court awarded death sentence to 12 people, including Memon. One of them subsequently passed away.
The trial court had also sentenced 20 people to life imprisonment and 46 others, including Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt, were given varying terms of imprisonment.