April 18, 2013
H.E. The President of India,
Re: My appeals for pardon/respite for (1) Issaq Mohammed Hajwane (2) Sharif Abdul Gafoor Parker (3) Zaibunnisa Kazi (4) Devender Pal Singh Bhullar and (5) Sanjay Dutt.
I already sent to you my appeals for pardon/respite to the above mentioned persons, which have been received in your office. I pray that till the decision of my appeals for pardon Your Excellency should grant respite, reprieve or suspension of the sentence of these 5 persons till my pardon appeals are finally decided.
In this connection I may refer to Article 72 (1) of the Constitution which states:
“The President shall have the power to grant pardons reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence”.
A perusal of Article 72 (1) shows that the President has not only power to grant pardon, but he has also the power to grant respite, reprieve or suspension of the sentence.
It is quite natural that before Your Excellency takes a final decision on my pardon petition Your Excellency may like to consult legal and administrative experts and would want the opinion of the Prime Minister, whom I met day before yesterday in his office in connection with the same matter. Hence it is quite likely that my pardon appeals may take some time to decide. Hence I respectfully request that Your Excellency may grant respite, reprieves or suspension of the sentence to these persons till the pardons appeal are decided, otherwise the pardon appeals may become infructuous. Four out of the five persons for whom I appealed for pardon are concerned with the Bombay bomb blast case of 1993. Three of them are very old and may not survive in jail.
For example, Issaq Mohammed Hajwane is now 89 years of age and I have annexed with my pardon appeal his photographs showing that his body is almost a skeleton and he has to be bodily carried for going to the bath room. Similarly, Gafoor Parker whose photographs were also annexed to my earlier to you is about 80 years age. As regards Zaibunnisa Kazi, she is 73 years old having many medical problems, and can hardly walk and talk. I am afraid these old people will not survive in jail.
As regards Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, if he is hanged my pardon appeal will become infructuous..
I also prayed for pardon to Sanjay Dutt for the reason given in my letter to you dated March 28, 2013.
I therefore once again request you to grant respite, reprieve or suspension of the sentence to the above mention persons till my pardon petitions are decided, and direct that the sentences of these 5 persons by the Supreme Court shall not be implemented till final disposal of my pardon appeals.
(Justice Markandey Katju)
Supreme Court of India