7/11 Defence argument: Court must eliminate possibility of reformhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/711defence-argument-court-must-eliminate-possibility-of-reform/

7/11 Defence argument: Court must eliminate possibility of reform

While the charges under which the men are convicted include those attracting the maximum punishment of death, the defence is set to plead that reform is possible.

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One of the convicts at Mumbai court, Monday. (Express Photo by: Ganesh Shirsekar)

As defence lawyers for the 12 convicts in the 7/11 serial blasts trial began their arguments on the quantum of punishment on Monday, they submitted three applications to the court — seeking a report from the jail’s probationary officer on the convicts’ behaviour, asking for their medical records to be produced, and requesting permission to take on record evidence of some witnesses.

While the charges under which the men are convicted include those attracting the maximum punishment of death, the defence is set to plead that reform is possible.

Defence counsel Yug Mohit Chaudhry submitted the three applications on behalf of all the convicts. He argued that all the 12 convicts had spent nine years behind bars, and each suffered a health problem. The defence said Mohammed Faisal Ataur Rahman Shaikh, accused No. 3 in the chargesheet, suffers from brain tumour, while two others, Kamal Ansari and Naveed Khan, need psychiatric help. The court then directed all the medical records to be produced.

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Seeking the report of the jail’s probationary officer, the defence counsel said it needs to be ascertained if all the “doors of reformation” were shut. “I am not seeking probation but it is only to ascertain their nature, behaviour and conduct… The best finding would be the finding of the probationary officer,” he said. “The court has to eliminate the possibility of reform.”

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To prove that reform is possible, the defence sought to take on record the evidence of some witnesses. The court is set to take up the pleas on Tuesday.

The prosecution earlier cited a difficulty, and said it could not present its arguments on the quantum of punishment. The defence countered that without knowing what the prosecution was going to seek — life term or death penalty — it would be difficult to present its arguments.