-by Justice Markandey Katju, former Judge, Indian Supreme Court
Zaibunnisa Kazi is an old woman in India who is in jail, convicted on the basis of weak evidence ( conviction upheld by the Indian Supreme Court in 2013 ) for allegedly having some weapons in her possession. The only evidence against her was a retracted confession of a co-accused.
She is an old woman of 72 years who is ailing. She had a kidney operation and has other ailments. She has to be medically examined frequently. I fear that unless she is released soon she may die in jail.
I was a lawyer for 20 years and a Judge for 20 years, retiring from the Indian Supreme Court in September 2011.. I carefully scrutinized the evidence against her as well as the judgment, and came to the conclusion that her conviction was wrong. I therefore issued appeals for her pardon in 2013 to the President of India and then Prime Minister of India, and personally met them in this connection, and showed them the relevant papers and explained to them the law, but to no avail.
Zaibunnisa's daughter Shagufta lives in Mumbai. Her email id is firstname.lastname@example.org. She met me in Delhi in 2013 and after discussing the matter with her and studying the papers I agreed to help her.
I then personally went to one of the top lawyers of the Indian Supreme Court, Mr. Fali Nariman, who filed a rectification petition in the Supreme Court, not charging any fee ( at my request ), but that petition was rejected.
Zaibunnisa, who was then an old woman of 70, and had already served 9 months in jail, and was on bail, had again to go to jail, where she has been since then.
Recently, Mr. Shanti Bhushan, another top lawyer of India filed a curative petition in her case, but it was also dismissed by the Supreme Court.
Presently I am in California, U.S.A. Shagufta has sent me several emails ( at my id email@example.com ) asking for help.
I request all civil liberty organizations throughout the world and others who love liberty to appeal to the Indian Government to release Zaibunnisa, as grave injustice has been done.
I have pasted copy of the certificate given by Mr. Shanti Bhushan, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, and shall also be pasting copies of my appeals to the President and Prime Minister of India, as well as the emails sent by Shagufta to me on my next post. Shagufta's email id is firstname.lastname@example.org
Justice Markandey Katju
Former Judge, Supreme Court of India
I, hereby, certify that the Curative Petition has been examined by me and it appears to me that there are strong reasons for entertaining this Curative petition because the Petitioner’s conviction under Sections 3 (3) and 6 of the TADA (Prevention) Act, 1987 is based on no evidence and suffers from inherent contradiction which has resulted in gross and manifest injustice to her which needs to be corrected by this Hon’ble Court in its Curative Jurisdiction in the interest of justice.
This Hon’ble Court upheld the Petitioner’s conviction only on this ground, as is mentioned in para 124 of the judgment dated 21.03.2013, that the co-accused in his confession had stated that the Petitioner was told that the bag which was given to her contained AK-56 rifles but the reading of the confession shows that there is no such thing in the said confession. Moreover, the Petitioner has been convicted under the aforesaid sections of the TADA Act for facilitating a preparatory terrorist act by keeping a bag with AK-56 rifles but was acquitted of the charge of possessing those very rifles under the Arms Act. The Petitioner’s acquittal under the Arms Act wipes out the foundation of the Petitioner’s conviction under the TADA Act, but still she has been convicted, thereby causing gross injustice to her.
The Review Petition bearing no. 337 of 2013 filed against the final judgment dated 21.03.2013 in Criminal Appeal No. 1001/2007 was dismissed by circulation vide order dated 16.04.2013.
This Curative Petition fulfils the requirements as laid down in the judgment dated 10.04.2002 in the matter of Rupa Ashok Hurra Vs. Ashok Hurrareported in 2002 (4) SCC page 388.
Mr. Shanti Bhushan
115, New Lawyers Chamber
Supreme Court of India
New Delhi- 110001
Tel. No. 23385266