Supreme Court Deputy Registrar quits over controversial Yakub Memon judgement


A Supreme Court Deputy Registrar has resigned while attacking the judgment paving the way for the hanging of 1993 Mumbai blasts accused Yakub Memon.

Prof. Anup Surendranath, Deputy Registrar (Research) said the two decisions within a span of hours and the unprecedented session of Supreme Court being called before dawn signalled ‘judicial abdication’ and the “darkest hours” of the apex court.

“It would be silly and naive to see the events of the last 24 hours at the Supreme Court as some triumph of the rule of law ? the two orders at 4 pm on 29th July and 5 am on 30th July (and the reasoning adopted therein) are instances of judicial abdication that must count amongst the darkest hours for the Supreme Court of India.,” Surendranath had remarked on July 30.

Surendranath’s resignation has come amid a raging debate in the country over whether death penalty should be allowed as a form of punishment.

The Deputy Registrar, who is also Director of Death Penalty Research Project, was also the one who filed a petition seeking stay of Memon’s death warrant.

“I have been contemplating this for a while now for a variety of reasons, but what was played out this week at the Supreme Court was the proverbial final nail–I have resigned from my post at the Supreme Court to focus on death penalty work at the National Law University,” Surendranath said.

“It is in many ways liberating to to regain the freedom to write whatever I want and I hope to make full use of that in the next few days to discuss the events that transpired at the Supreme Court this week,” he wrote on Facebook.

Earlier on Saturday, BJP leader Varun Gandhi seemed to suggest in a magazine article that he was against death penalty and that it was a form of vengeance which any government should avoid. The ruling BJP later distanced itself from Gandhi’s comments.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had also come out in support of abolition of death penalty recently and the comments invited a lot of criticism from senior BJP leaders.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh had on Friday said in Parliament that every opportunity had been given to Yakub in order to seek justice and the state judiciary had shown great courage in calling a session at nearly 3 am to finalise his hanging orders.

Never before had a special session of the Supreme Court been called at 3 am in any country of the world.


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