Tuesday 10 February 2015

Appeal to help The Court of Last Resort
 In India thousands, or maybe tens of thousands, of people are languishing in jail for years who deserve to be released. For helping them we have set up The Court of Last Resort.
 The concept behind setting it up is explained in my blog ' The Court of Last Resort ' ( see justicekatju.blogspot.in )
I may refer to 3 specific cases where immediate action is required: :
1. The case of Prof. Devinderpal Singh Bhullar
 I do not know Prof. Bhullar, he is not related to me nor is he a member of my caste or creed.  The first time I heard his name was when I read in the newspapers that his mercy petition has been rejected by the President of India ( after his death sentence had been upheld by the Indian Supreme Court ) and he is going to be hanged in a few days.
   After reading this I went on the net and started doing some research into Bhullar's case.
Bhullar was a Professor of Engineering in some College or University in Ludhiana. He got involved in the Khalistan agitation in the 1980s, and was implicated in the bomb blast in Delhi in 1993 in which 10 people were killed. In this connection several persons including Bhullar were arrested, tried, and sentenced to death, and Bhullar's death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court by a 2-1 majority.
 I carefully read both the majority and minority verdicts and came to the conclusion that the minority view of Justice M.B. Shah was correct ( for the reasons given in my appeal to the President of India which is in my blog ).
  Now apart from judicial proceedings, there are also pardon proceedings under our Constitution. This means that even if a person has been convicted by our courts of law, he can be pardoned and released , or his sentence reduced, by the President of India or Governor of the concerned state. This is a very wide power, and can be excercized for a myriad reasons, as held in Maru Ram vs. Union of India ( see online ). In pardon proceedings the President ( or Governor, as the case may be ) can even scrutinize the evidence recorded in the judicial proceeding, and come to a conclusion different from that of the Court, as held in Kehar Singh vs. Union of India.
 So I took an appointment and personally met the Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh and the President of India Pranab Mukherji, and explained to them why the minority view of Justice Shah was correct and the majority view was wrong, and in view of the observation of the Supreme Court in Kehar Singh's case the President, in pardon proceedings, could prefer the minority view and release Bhullar.
 The result of my intervention was that Bhullar was not hanged, though he is still languishing in jail. He has been in jail now for about 22 years, most of them in death row, and has become  mentally deranged.
 Bhullar's wife, who lives in Toronto came to meet me in Delhi, and I told her that I would do all to help.
 A meeting of about 5000 Sikhs was held in this connection in Delhi's Gurdwara Rakabganj saheb, to which I was invited, but I declined the invitation. However I consented to meet a delegation of about 20 Sikhs who came to my residence. They included some very eminent persons, retired High Court Judges, etc. I explained to them why I thought the majority view of the Supreme Court was wrong, and what I had done to save Bhullar's life.
 A few weeks thereafter I went to Amritsar and visited the Sikhs; holiest shrine, the  Golden Temple. The Jathedar, who among Sikhs is equivalent to the Pope among Roman Catholics, personally received me there and honoured me with a saropa ( a kind of shawl ), saying that all Sikhs in the world are grateful to me for having saved Prof. Bhullar's life.
 But in my opinion that is not enough. We must all try to get him released from jail and sent back to his wife in Canada.
2. The case of Abdul Qadir
 I came to know of Abdul Qadir's case when I went to Hyderabad with my friend Asif Azmi, the General Secretary of The Court of Last Resort ( email id asifazmi@hotmail.com ).
 Abdul Qadir was a police constable who in 1990 shot dead a police officer. His crime was grave, and he had been given a life sentence. He had already served 24 years in jail, and had become diabetic, due to which a leg had to be amputated.
 I personally requested the then Chief Minister Mr. Kiran Reddy to pardon him on humanitarian grounds, but as yet nothing has been done. When he committed the crime he was young, but now he has become old. He has already served 24 years of his sentence. I think he should now be released.
3. The case of Zaibunnisa Kazi
 She is an old woman of about 80 years and is in jail. Full details of her case have been given in my blog, which may be seen. I believe the evidence on which she was convicted was very weak. In any case, she deserves to be released in view of her advanced age.
There are many other cases relating to personal liberty which we intend to take up.
 We need the support of all lovers of freedom in this endeavour. Please contact Asif Azmi at asifazmi@hotmail.com for further details, and please read the blogs I have referred to
  I wish to make it clear that we are doing this work for no personal benefit, but only to get justice done, which I think is the duty of every citizen