Former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Markandey Katju has said that the Mumbai blasts accused Yakub Memon, who’s likely to be hanged on July 30, was a victim of a ‘gross travesty of justice.’
Writing in his blog, Justice Katju said that after having carefully read the judgement, he had found the evidence used against Memon to be ‘ very weak.’
He said, “This evidence is (1) retracted confession of the co-accused, and (2) alleged recoveries. As regards the first, everyone knows how ‘confessions’ are obtained by the police in our country–by torture. And torture is such a terrible thing that one will confess to anything under torture. Joan of Arc confessed to be a witch under torture. Moreover, in this case, the alleged ‘confession’ was retracted.”
Justice Katju argued that police in India was notorious for planting false evidence in order to demonstrate that it had solved the case.
He said, “As regards ‘recoveries’, anyone having even the slighted knowledge of the working of the police knows that such alleged recoveries are often planted. The truth is that our police usually cannot nab the real culprits because it is not trained in scientific investigation, and yet it has to solve the crime. So the best thing to do in terrorist cases is to implicate half a dozen Muslims, since it is well known that Muslims have nothing else to do except throw bombs.”
Justice Katju also accused the judiciary of increasingly becoming populist.
“I fear it is becoming increasingly populist. Many judges want to show to the public that they are ‘tough on terror’, never mind if innocent people are convicted and hanged…”
On June 21, the Supreme Court dismissed the curative petition of Memon clearing the decks for his hanging. But on June 23, Memon again moved the Supreme Court seeking stay of execution of his death sentence.
On July 26, a group of eminent jurists, leaders cutting across political parties and film personalities wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee requesting him to stop Yakub’s hanging. They included BJP’s Shatrughan Sinha, CPM’s Sitaram Yachury, CPI’s D Raja, advocate Prashant Bhushan, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, actor Nasiruddin Shah, activist Tushar Gandhi and retired Supreme Court judges HS Bedi and PB Sawant, jurist Ram Jethmalanai.
On Sunday, Bollywood megastar Salman Khan too had said that India was hanging a wrong person asking the establishment not to hang an ‘innocent’ man as killing one innocent personal was ‘killing the humanity.’ His comments elicited angry responses from right wing groups, forcing the actor to retract his tweets on Yakub.