A highly educated man, found right in the center of the infamous 1993 blasts conspiracy, is how retired Justice Pramod Dattatraya Kode recalls Yakub Memon. “And someone who was persistent,” said Kode.
It was in July 2007 that Justice Kode was the special TADA Court judge who convicted and sentenced Memon to death. Memon’s last resort in the form of a curative petition, was rejected by the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
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Moments after he was sentenced, Memon, known to have a quiet demeanour, shocked the courtroom when he sought the “lord’s forgiveness” for Kode for “not knowing” what he had done. Kode recalled the incident and said it cannot be assumed that it was a spontaneous reaction. “It is now well settled that all opportunities are given to an accused and they have their own advisers. As far as Yakub is concerned, he is a very educated man. Apart from this, the manner in which the conspiracy of this sheer magnitude was planned, he was found to be in its nucleus. Nothing can be said on his reaction. We cannot take that his reaction was spontaneous,” Kode told The Indian Express. “The reaction could have been a realisation that all this efforts had been frustrated.”
Though the judge points out it will be a “mistake” to talk about his mannerisms at this stage, he said. “Every culprit entertains a hope of deceiving an authority and that process continues.” While adjudicating the fate of 140 accused, and having 360 minutes every day at his disposal, Kode now finds it difficult to sketch a definitive picture of Memon. “As I recollect, he was very persuasive about his demands for himself and his family in his applications. After a point other accused would stop, but he was persistent.”
He said that difficulties lingered for all accused as it was the longest trial, but one needed to take care about the rights of others too. On visits from his family members to seeking exemption from appearance for his parents on grounds of ill-health, Memon was always particular on the applications made, said the judge.
Despite not having read the judgment or Memon’s curative petition, Kode said that he had “utmost faith” in the Supreme Court. He added, “When they dismissed the curative petition, it implies that the grounds or the points raised therein are devoid of merits. In the manner in which this curative petition cropped up, or Yakub Memon making this petition, is in itself indicative of the fact that in Indian judiciary, high regard is given for human rights to see that there is no miscarriage of justice or gross injustice. So if anybody alleges, the court considers that aspect and deals with it as per law.”