Supreme Court judgment in 1993 Bombay blasts
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The Supreme Court judgment in the March 1993 Bombay blast cases has many interesting features, one of which is five years' imprisonment for actor Sanjay Dutt for violation of the Arms Act after absolving him of any guilt of terrorism. Understandably, family members, friends and admirers of Sanjay are dismayed and shocked at the severity of the sentence. It must be remembered that the Supreme Court upheld Sanjay's conviction under the Arms Act for illegally possessing prohibited weapons, including an AK-56 rifle and ammunition, which were part of the consignment smuggled in by Dawood Ibrahim and associates for the March 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai.
Another interesting part of the judgment is the court's finding that "some of the accused, upon arrival in Pakistan for arms training, were received by ISI operatives who took them out of the airport without observing immigration formalities. There was no entry in their passports when they left Islamabad for Dubai which indicated that the accused had a green channel entry and exit in Pakistan". The court concluded that Pakistan had breached the UN mandate which obligated every member country to prevent terrorists from using its territory to harm other countries. This part is controversial. Should the Supreme Court have virtually indicted another sovereign government, Pakistan, for permitting terrorism? Or should it have recorded its findings based on the evidence before it and left it to our government and others to draw appropriate conclusions. Those who believe this part of the Supreme Court judgment will strengthen our request to Pakistan to return Dawood Ibrahim and Co. to India are living in a fool's paradise oblivious of the resolution moved in the Pakistan National Assembly deploring our Supreme Court's judgment in the Afzal Guru case. I do not recollect our Parliament criticising judgment of the apex court in Pakistan for sentencing Zulfikar Bhutto to death. Possibility of normalisation of relations with Pakistan sadly appears to be remote.
The news that Italy will return to India the two marines who were allowed to leave India on the undertaking given by the Italian Ambassador to the Supreme Court is welcome. It avoids an unnecessary confrontation with the court on the grounds of diplomatic immunity. It is said that the Italian government's decision was inter alia owing to ample assurances from Indian authorities on the treatment that the marines will receive and their legal defence in Indian courts. There can be no problem on this score. The decision according to the Italian government was also in the interest of the marines and to maintain the commitment made when they were permitted to leave India and go to Italy to take part in the elections. The marines are said to have agreed to the decision. It is reported that the return was conditional on the two not being given the death sentence. That could be problematic but is capable of solution. We must compliment our Supreme Court for its firm no-nonsense approach in the matter. The message is clear: Don't take the apex court for granted on dubious claims of diplomatic immunity after playing a fraud on the court by giving it a solemn undertaking and then blatantly declaring that the Italian government will not abide by it.
Law makers as law breakers
Assault by the five Maharashtrian MLAs on Assistant Inspector (Traffic) Sachin Suryawanshi within legislative premises is shocking. It happened when the police official visited Room No.114 during a breach of privilege hearing over an altercation he had with MLA Thakur near Bandra Worli Sea Link last week. These MLAs have been suspended for lowering dignity of the 'august House' and they cannot take part in Assembly proceedings till December 31, 2013, and are barred from entering the Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai and Nagpur. If law makers can behave shamelessly like law breakers they deserve to be expelled from the House and awarded the stringent punishment under the IPC. Anything less would seriously demoralise the police force and give an imprimatur on unlawful criminal behaviour by the representatives of the people.
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