Mercy Petition for Yakub Memon’s life

May it Please Your Excellency:

This is a mercy petition for Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, who is scheduled to be executed on 30 July 2015 as per the execution warrant issued by the TADA Court.

We, the undersigned, through this petition urge Your Excellency to stay the imminent execution so that the substantive and fresh grounds raised herein can be considered on merits.

A. Preliminary Grounds

*An International Commitment to abolish death penalty – We the signatories of this mercy petition humbly make the statement that in India death penalty cannot be imposed till such time Parliament of India decides not to abolish death penalty and the reason for the same are as under:

The universal declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly on 10.12.1948 defined certain human rights and fundamental freedoms which need to be protected. Among the subsequent human right documents, the most important are the two covenants adopted by the General Assembly in 1966: The Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Optional Protocol and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. India became a party to both these covenant by ratifying them on 27.3.1979. There are two optional protocols to the covenant, the Second Protocol aims at the abolition of death penalty.

Article VI of Part-III of the covenant on civil and political rights lays down as under:

*Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No-one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.

*In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crime.


*Anyone sentenced to death shall have the right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentence amnesty or commutation of death may be granted in all cases.

The President of India under Article 72 of the Constitution of India has the power to grant pardon and to suspend, remit or commute sentence in certain cases. It is in this way the constitution of India permits right of appeal. Sub-clause of Article 6 of Part-III of the Covenant as referred above provides that commutation of sentence of death may be granted in all cases. In the circumstance, we will have to understand as to why “may” has been used for commutation of the sentence of death to be granted by the President. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Deewan Singh Vs. Rajendra Prasad Ardevi (2007) 10 SC 528 while interpretating “may” where powers is conferred upon a public authority coupled with direction, the word “may” which connotes direction should be constitute to mean a command. In India this power of pardon is to be exercised by the President and therefore under no circumstances for empowering the President the word “shall” could have been used in the covenant but it means a command i.e. commutation of sentence of death must be granted in all cases by President, till such time Parliament of India decides that it will continue the penalty of death sentence. After signing of covenant, the Parliament of India has not considered any amendment in the Indian Penal Code for abolition of death sentence.

The second optional protocol to the International covenant on civil and political rights reads as under:

“The States Parties to the present Protocol,

Believing that abolition of the death penalty contributes to enhancement of human dignity and progressive development of human rights,

Recalling Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted on 10 December 1948, and Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted on 16 December 1966,

Noting that Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights refers to abolition of the death penalty in terms that strongly suggest that abolition is desirable,

Convinced that all measures of abolition of the death penalty should be considered as progress in the enjoyment of the right to life,

Desirous to undertake hereby an international commitment to abolish the death penalty,

Have agreed as follows:

Article 1:

*No one within the jurisdiction of a State Party to the present Protocol shall be executed.

*Each State Party shall take all necessary measures to abolish the death penalty within its jurisdiction.

Article 2:

*No reservation is admissible to the present Protocol, except for a reservation made at the time of ratification or accession that provides for the application of the death penalty in time of war pursuant to a conviction for a most serious crime of a military nature committed during wartime.”

As regards covenant we may submit that a covenant is a treaty and it lays down a notable step forward in the protection of human rights within the framework of the United Nations and constitutes the basic provisions of International Bill of Rights. The two covenants also demonstrate the way in which the United Nations is overcoming its earlier hesitations about the enforcement of human rights obligations. It is almost an accepted provision of law that rules of customary International Law which are not contrary to Municipal Law shall be deemed to be incorporated in the domestic law.

The plea of enforceability of various International covenant is now no longer a matter of debate but should be considered to be firmly established as a part of international law which the domestic courts are duty bound to give effect to.

*Present Petition Meets Procedural Requirements

This Mercy Petition satisfies the legal requirements applicable to a fresh mercy petition as per G. KrishtaGoud v. State of A.P., (1976) 1 SCC 157para10 and clause VII-(A) of the Procedure Regarding Petitions for Mercy in Death Sentence Cases, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

*Death Warrant fixing the date of Execution is Illegal

Yakub Memon was not given advance notice of the death warrant hearing and as a result of which he and his lawyers could not participate and contest the issuance of the death warrant. Lack of hearing makes the present death warrant void in light of the Supreme Court decision in Shabnam v. Union of India &Ors, Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 88 of 2015 (decided on May 27, 2015).

B. Fresh Grounds on Merits

Following are some very disturbing aspects of this case which make the award of death sentence of Yakub Memon as grossly unfair, arbitrary and excessive.

*Long Duration of Trial and Incarceration Suffered Till Date

Yakub Memon has served more than 20 years in prison since his arrest. His trial took 14 years to complete. While the Hon’ble Supreme Court used this long period of incarceration as a mitigating circumstance to commute the death sentences of the other 10 co-accused persons, it applied a different yardstick to Yakub. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has repeatedly held that lengthy incarceration during pendency of appeal in death cases is a significant mitigating circumstance which ought to be considered in determination of sentence. In the interests of justice we request you to give due importance to this. The government to that extent is not bound by the conclusions arrived at by the Supreme Court (See Shanker v. State of U.P. (1975) 3 SCC 851; Vivian Rodrick v. The State of West Bengal (1971) 1 SCC 468);Kehar Singh v. Union of India(1989) 1 SCC 204para 10.

*Yakub Memon is Mentally Unfit for Execution

Yakub Memon has been suffering from schizophrenia for the last 20 years which makes him unfit for execution. His mental condition has been certified by jail doctors. Schizophrenia as a mental illness has been held by the Supreme Court (Shatrughan Chauhan v. Union of India, (2014) 3 SCC 1 para 86-87) to render a convict unfit for execution. Your Excellency is required to consider the mental health of a convict before deciding his mercy petition, and can summon his medical records from the prison from the time of his arrest.

*Role in the 1993 Bomb Blasts Conspiracy

Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim as the Main Conspirators

As per the case of the prosecution, the 1993 bomb blasts were orchestrated by Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim to seek revenge for the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya(YakubMemon v. State of Maharashtra, (2013) 13 SCC 1 para 148, 1253). Both Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim have been absconding and Yakub, brother of Tiger Memon, who was not the main actor in the conspiracy is being executed.

Commuted Co-accused played a larger role in the Conspiracy than Yakub Memon: Prejudiced on Account of being Tiger Memon’s Brother

The TADA Court convicted 100 persons and awarded death penalty to 11 persons. In appeal, the Supreme Court commuted the death sentences of all the convicts except Yakub Memon. In comparison to Yakub Memon, the 10 co-accused persons whose death sentences were commuted planted the bombs themselves and played a much more critical and direct role in the actual execution of the bomb blast conspiracy. Several of whom even travelled to Pakistan for arms training. This shows Yakub Abdul Razak Memon who is facing an imminent execution only on account of being Tiger Memon’s younger brother.

Witness in the case

Unlike the main accused, Yakub Memon surrendered before the authorities, a fact which has been confirmed on July 24 by the then officer in charge of the entire operation, Shri B.Raman. Yakub Memon is the person who has provided information about Pakistan involvement. His execution will weaken the case against the involvement of the Pakistan agencies as there are no other witnesses available.

*Death Sentence of Convicts in other Terror Cases Commuted

It is also worthwhile to note that death sentences imposed on the aides of Veerappan (convicted and sentenced to death under TADA), Rajiv Gandhi killers and Devender Pal Singh Bhullar have been commuted recently by the Supreme Court. While the mercy petitions of Verappan’s aides, Rajiv Gandhi’s three killers and Devender Pal Singh Bhullar were decided belatedly by the President, thereby giving them the claim of delay jurisprudence, the Home Ministry has moved swiftly to reject Yakub Abdul Razak Memon’s mercy’s petition. It seems that subjective factors are the basis of decisions which lead to arbitrary actions.

*Death Sentence awarded under TADA which was repealed for being Unfair and Discriminatory

Yakub Memon has been tried and sentenced to death under TADA, a special law which was repealed by the Parliament on account of it having been used to target the minorities. The Supreme Court in Vijaykumar Baldev Mishra v. State of Maharashtra, (2007) 12 SCC 687para 30 also doubted the legality of prosecutions pursued after the repeal of TADA. Given the highly compromised rule of law credentials of TADA, executing Yakub Memon will perpetuate the dark legacy of this law.

Final Plea

We most humbly request your Excellency to consider the case of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon and spare him from the noose of the death for a crime that was master-minded by someone else to communally divide the country. Grant of mercy in this case will send out a message that while this country will not tolerate acts of terrorism, as a nation we are committed to equal application of the power of mercy and values of forgiveness, and justice. Blood letting and human sacrifice will not make this country a safer place; it will, however, degrade us all.

Yours Sincerely,

Justice Panachand Jain (Retd) Justice H.S. Bedi (Retd)

Justice P. B. Sawant (Retd)Justice H. Suresh (Retd)

Justice K. P. Siva Subramaniam (Retd) Justice S. N. Bhargava (Retd)

Justice K Chandru (Retd)Justice Nagmohan Das (Retd)

Shatrughan Sinha MP Mani Shankar Aiyer, MP

Ram Jethmalani, MP Majeed Memon, MP

Sitaram Yechury, MP, G.S, CPI(M) D. Raja, MP, Secretary, CPI

K.T.S Tulsi, MPH.K. Dua, MP

T. Siva, MP

Prakash Karat, CPI(M), Member, Polit Bureau

Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary, CPI(ML)-Liberation

Brinda Karat, CPI(M), Member, Polit Bureau

N. Ram, Senior Journalist

Prashant Bhushan, Senior Lawyer

Jagmati Sangwan, General Secretary, AIDWA

Kavita Krishnan, Secretary, AIPWA

Annie Raja, General Secretary, NFIW

Tushar Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi Foundation

M. K. Raina, Film & theatre artist

Anand Patwardhan, Filmmaker

Naseeruddin Shah, Actor

Mahesh Bhatt, Filmmaker

Lalit Vachani, Filmmaker

Ram Rahman

Vivan Sundaram, Artist

Prof. Prabhat Patnaik

Prof. C. P. Chandrasekhar

Prof. Utsa Patnaik

Ritu Diwan, Former Director & Head Dept of Economics, Mumbai University

Jean Dreze

Pamela Philipose, Journalist

Achin Vanaik

Adv. Flavia Agnes, Director, Majlis Legal Centre, Mumbai.

Parthiv Shah

Prof. Irfan Habib

Prof. Arjun Dev

Prof. D. N. Jha

Prof. Kalpana Kannibaran, Hyderabad

Indira Jaisingh, Former, Addl. Sol. General

Kirti Singh, Former Member, Law Commission

Vrinda Grover, Lawyer

Prof. Abhijit Sen

Dr. Imrana Qadir

Dilip D’souza, Author

Ravi Chelam, Biologist and Conservationist Scientist, Bengaluru

Prof. Sohini Ghosh

Associate Prof. Sabina Gadihoke

Smita Gupta, economist

Prof. Jayati Ghosh

Prof. Jagmohan Singh, Coalition Against the Death Penalty, Ludhiana

Shabnam Hashmi, Anhad

Manisha Sethi, Academic

Prof. Ved Kumari

Biraj Patnaik

Virginia Saldanha

Prof.Madhu Prashad

Anees Azmi

Rahul Saxena

Anjali Mody

Dr. Nikita Sood, Oxford University

Rahul Roy, Filmmaker

Dr. Ayesha Kidwai

Prof. Harbans Mukhia

Adv. Kamayani Bali Mahabal

Binoo John (senior journalist, author)

Nachiket Udupa

N. Jayaram

Prof. Pulin Nayak

Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy

Angana Chatterjee

Deep Joshi

Mr. Tarun Bhartiya, Shillong

Ms. Angela Rangad, Shillong

Sanjay Karkala

Gitanjali Prasad

Vivek Sundara

Arundhati Dhuru NAPM

Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party

Dr John Dayal, Member, National Integration Council

Chetan Mali

Vidula Ramabai

Nandini Sundar, Professor, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University

Suroor Mander

Rammanohar Reddy

Kiran Bhatty, Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi

Laxmi Murthy

Aruna Roy, MKSS

Rev. Kyrsoibor Pyrtuh, Shillong

Ms. Kalpana Kumar, Delhi

Asad Zaidi, Writer

Dunu Roy, Hazards Centre, New Delhi

Sohail Akbar

Mr. Napolean S. Mawphniang, Shillong

Ms. Gertrude Lamare, , Shillong

Ms. Janice Pariat, Shillong

Ms. Angela Rangad, Shillong

Mr. Tarun Bhartiya, Shillong

Ms. Mona Mishra, Delhi

Mr. Aflatoon, Varanasi, Secretary (Organisation), Samajwadi Janparishad

Mr. Manas Das, Bangalore

Ms. Amba Kak, Delhi

Kshetrimayum Onil, Imphal

Subrat Kumar Sahu, Delhi

Dr. Kranti Bhavana, Patna

Mr. Taru Dalmia, Delhi

Mr. Apal, Jaunpur

Mr. Mujibur Khan, Delhi

Ms Kanika Kamra, Chandigarh

Ms Neelima Goyal

Ms Brinda Bose, Delhi

Mr. Hossein Fazeli,

Mr. Jatinder Mauhar Singh, Chandigarh

Himanshi Rawat, Delhi

Dhruba J. Dutta

Abhinandita Mathur

Rahul Saxena, Bangalore, India

Muralidharan, Secretary, National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled

Ghazala Jamil

Sohail Hashmi

Prabir Purkayastha

Nikhil De, MKSS

Michael Noronha, (Mysore)

Ovais Sultan Khan

Abha Baiya

Ashok Chowdhury, AIUFWP

Bondita Acharya, Jorhat, Assam

Dr.Rosemary Dzuvichu, Nagaland University, Kohima

Kalyani Menon-Sen

Gita Sen

Vani Subramaniam

Saheli Women’s Resource Centre

Gabriele Dietrich

Niraj Malik

Javed Malick

Kiran Shaheen

Dyuti Ailawadi

Ramlath Kavil

Supriya Madangarli

Amrita Shodhan

Geetanjali Gangoli

Helen Saldana

Albertina Almeida

Pushpa Achanta

Kalpana Mehta

WSS Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression

Vineeta Bal

Malini Subramaniam

Sumi Krishna

Ratna Appnender

Sujata Patel

Chayanika Shah

Sadhna Arya

Asmita Basu

Johanna Lokhande

Pyoli Swatija

Mamta Singh

Ardhendu Sen


Sakina Bahora

Juhi Jain

Meena Seshu

Vahida Nainar

Indira Chakravarthy

Anubha Rastogi

Soma KP

Abha Bhaiya

Runu Chakraborty

Shraddha Chickerur

Mihira Sood

Nisha Biswas

Ilina Sen

Preetha Nair

Rakhi Sehgal

Shoma Sen

Greeshma Aruna Rai

Uma Chandru

Shals Mahajan

LABIA Queer Feminist Collective

Sujata Gothoskar

Sandhya Gokhale

Forum Against Oppression of Women

Nikita Sonavane

Lalita Ramdas

Veena Shatrughna

Abhi Nandita Mathur

Freda Guttman

Vinod Mubayi, Co-editor, Insaf Bulletin

T K Raghunathan

Abby Lippman, PhD, Professor Emerita, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Martin Duckworth, cineaste

Shrikumar Poddar NRISAHI

George Abraham NRISAHI

Mohammad Imran NRISAHI

Kasim Sait Progressive Interactions, Chennai

Kareem Sait

Jai Sen

Prof.Praveen Jha

A K Ramakrishnan

Gitanjali Prasad

Rohan Dominic Mathews

Amod Shah

Shreya Agarwal

Anamika Lahiri

Rhea John

Kiran Bhatty

Vanita Leah Falcao

Ankita Aggarwal

Aashish Gupta

Avantika Dhingra

Radhika Jha

Seema Jha

Sridhar A

Farah Naqvi, Writer and Activist, Delhi

Radha Holla Brar

Vinay Kulkarni

Veena Shatrugna

R Srivatsan KS Jacob

Ravi Duggal

Indira Charkavarti

Sulakshna Nandi

Amar Jesani

Dhruv Mankad

Manisha Gupte

Renu Khanna


Saraswathy Ganapathy

Anant Phadke

Chinu Srinivasan

Ygesh Jain

Dr. Mohan Rao

C Sathyamala

Pallavi Gupta

Sukla Sen

Veena Johari

Ajaya Kumar Singh, Social Activist, Odisha Forum for Social Action, Bhubaneswar

Amalendu Upadhyaya, Editor,

Anjali Monteiro, Mumjbai

Anubha Rastogi, advocate, Mumbai

Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal, Jamwal

Apoorvanand, Teacher, DU

Capt. Tauseef H. Mukadam, Airline Pilot – Air Asia India, Bangalore

Darryl D’Monte, Chairperson, Forum of Environmental Journalists of India (FEJI), Mumbai

Devangshu Datta, New Delhi

Farah Naqvi, Writer and Activist, Delhi

Fr. Cedric Prakash sj, Director, PRASHANT, Gujarat

Francis Parmar.Gujarat

G. M. Sheikh, artist, Vadodara

Gagan Sethi, development professional, Gujarat

Geeta Seshu, Journalist, Mumbai, Maharashtra

Ghanshyam Shah, academician, Gujarat

Githa Hariharan, writer, New Delhi

Harsh Kapoor, New Delhi

Harsh Mander, social activist, writer, Aman Biradari, New Delhi

Hussain Indorewala, Asst. Professor, Madhta Pradesh

Indira Chandrasekhar, publisher, New Delhi

K.P. Jayasankar, Mumbai

Manan Trivedi, Social Activist, Gujarat

Manoranjan Mohanty, New Delhi

Mitul Baruah, Syracuse University, NY

Mukul Mangalik, Ramjas College, DU

N.D.Jayaprakash, Social Activist, New Delhi

Nasreen Fazalbhoy, Mumbai

Nilanjana S Roy, New Delhi

Nilima Sheikh, artist, Vadodara

Priya Pillai , Environmental Activist , Greenpeace India.

Radha Khan, Freelance development consultant.

Ram Puniyani, writer, Mumbai

Rohit Chopra, Associate Professor Santa Clara University

Rupa Gulab

S.Q.Masood, activist, Hyderabad

Sadanand Menon, Chennai

Sanjiv Bhatt, IPS Gujarat

Shankar Singh, MKSS, Rajasthan

Sheba George, Director , SAHR WARU , Gujarat

Vineet Tiwari, Progressive Writers Association, Indore

Swarna Rajagopalan, Researcher, Chennai

Isha Khandelwal, Lawyer, Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group

Shalini Gera, Lawyer, Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group

Nandini Rao, women’s rights activist, New Delhi

Y J Rajendra, GEneral Secretary, PUCL – Karnataka

Irfan Engineer, Mumbai

Prof Archana Prasad

Dr. Dinesh Abrol

Annexure: Article written by B. Raman, who headed the Pakistan Desk at RAW, as to why Yakub Memon should not be hanged.