MUMBAI: Making it clear that it could not further wait for Ajmal Kasab to file an appeal against the trial court’s order sentencing him to death for his role in the 26/11 terror attack, the Bombay High Court on Monday said it would proceed with confirmation of death sentence from October 11 or 18.
Government lawyer, Mr Ujjwal Nikam said the Pakistani terrorist had a threat perception and bringing him to court would be a great risk, to which the court suggested that Kasab could appear through the medium of video conference.
In a related development, an activist of right-wing organisation, Azad Hind Sena, made an allegation in the High Court saying that Mr Nikam was a member of Kasab’s gang and that the 26/11 attacks were not at the behest of Pakistan but because of him (activist).
The court, however, refused to entertain him saying he had not filed intervention application and asked police to remove him from the court after Mr Nikam informed that another bench had earlier banned him from filing vexatious petitions.
A bench headed by Ms Justice Ranjana Desai told Kasab’s lawyer Ms Farhana Shah that the 60-day period provided in law for filing an appeal had already lapsed.
The judges made it clear that they would go ahead with the confirmation of death sentence imposed on him by the lower court on a day-to-day basis from October 11 or October 18. In the meantime, Kasab can file an appeal.
“It is not necessary in law to wait for your appeal… We are not finding fault with you. It is possible that you may be facing difficulty but we cannot wait,” the bench told Kasab’s lawyer.
The judges also asked Kasab’s lawyer to meet him in jail on Monday itself and find out whether he wished to attend the hearing in the court or not. If yes, then the court would seek state’s opinion on what security measures it will take and pass an order to fix a date for day-to-day hearing of the matter.
The court even suggested that video conference could be an option after Mr Nikam said Kasab had threat perception.
Mr Nikam said the state would be ready for video conference on
Ms Shah said that whenever she went to seek instructions from the client in the jail they were surrounded by police officials and, therefore, he was not willing to talk to her freely.
However, Mr Nikam said the concerned officials may be jail staff and not the police.
The court refused to go into the issue saying “we will not interfere. You please go ahead and seek instructions”.
On May 6, Kasab was sentenced to death for killing along with other terrorists 166 people on November 26, 2008. On May 24, he was served a copy of the judgment in jail. Later, the High Court appointed lawyers Mr Amin Solkar and Ms Shah to defend him.