SC dismisses 1993 Bombay blasts’ case convict’s plea for leniency

Published: Nov 28, 2020, 2:24 pm IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea filed by Muhammad Moin Faridulla Qureshi, serving a life term after conviction in the 1993 Mumbai blasts’ case, seeking leniency under the Juvenile Justice Act.

Qureshi had moved the top court under Article 32 of the Constitution.

A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud and comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee said on Friday that the relief sought in the petition would essentially require the court, in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 32, to overturn the sentence imposed on the petitioner in the TADA case by a designated court, when the conviction and sentence have been upheld by this court in the criminal appeal.

“The remedy of a petition under Article 32 would thus not be available in the light of the above facts. The petition is hence dismissed on grounds of maintainability,” said the bench.

However, the top court did not express any opinion on the submissions of Senior Advocate S Nagamuth, appearing for the petitioner, that his client would be advised to file a curative petition.

The petitioner had moved the top court through a writ of certiorari for setting aside his sentence while maintaining his conviction and for the grant of the benefit of juvenility. The petition was based on the fact that in another TADA case, the top court had by an order dated March 9, 2011 allowed the plea of juvenility to be raised.

The bench observed that as per the records, the conviction of the appellant by the designated court had been upheld through dismissal of his criminal appeal and rejection of a review plea. “The issue of juvenility was raised before the designated court as well as before this court when the appeal was heard and has been specifically dealt with,” noted the bench.

The petitioner claimed that he had filed an appeal before the top court to challenge order dated November 22, 2006 of the designated TADA court in Mumbai on the issue of juvenility.

The appeal against the said order was disposed by the court on February 19, 2010, granting liberty to the petitioner to pursue his rights in the main appeal arising out of the conviction.

“On March 21, 2013, the appeal filed by the petitioner against his conviction was dismissed by this court. On the issue of juvenility, the court holds that TADA, being an Act enacted for special purposes, will have precedence over any other legislation,” noted the top court.