New Delhi: A day after giving partial relief to actor Sanjay Dutt, the Supreme Court on Thursday gave four more weeks to surrender to three convicts Altaf Ali Sayeed, Essa Memon and Yusuf Nulwalla in 1993 Bombay blasts case. The plea of the fourth convict who had sought relief, Yusuf Khan, has been rejected on grounds that he could get treatment inside the jail.
There has been no decision yet on another convict Zaibunissa Kazi's plea. Her petition will be taken up by the Chief Justices bench at 2 pm on Thursday.
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday dismissed Zaibunissa's plea to extend the time to surrender and had directed her to surrender by the given deadline of April 18. Zaibunissa, a cancer patient, had asked for an extension based on the grounds that her clemency plea is still pending before President Pranab Mukherjee.
Zaibunissa was charged for possessing illegal arms and ammunition and also under TADA. Zaibunisa's petition was outrightly rejected while Sanjay Dutt has been granted four weeks reprieve. The question is whether this shows unequal treatment by the law.
Reacting to the court's relief to Dutt, Zaibunissa's daughter on Wednesday said she wished she or her mother was a celebrity. "It is very important to be a celebrity in this country is all I can say," she said. "I have not given up hope, I will continue my fight on humanitarian grounds," she added.
71-year-old Zaibunissa's sentence of five years by the Bombay High court was upheld by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had said that all convicts should surrender within four weeks of its upholding the Bombay High Court judgement. Former Supreme Court judge and Press Council of India chief Markandey Katju had made a representation to the President on behalf of Kazi on March 18 and on behalf of other two on April 10.
While the court had rejected Zaibunisa's plea on Tuesday, it gave four weeks to Sanjay Dutt on 'humanitarian grounds' on Wednesday. The apex court accepted Sanjay Dutt's plea of humanitarian grounds raised by him for extending the time for surrender. "Considering the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case and reasons stated in the petition, we are not inclined to extend the time by six months. However, we extend the time by four weeks from tomorrow. It is made clear that no further extension will be granted," a bench comprising justices P Sathasivam and BS Chauhan said.
Meanwhile, eleven convicts of the 1993 Bombay serial blasts case, who were out on bail, surrendered on Wednesday before the designated TADA court here following the dismissal of their appeals by the Supreme Court. Special TADA Judge G A Sanap directed that they be taken to the Central Prison at Arthur Road in central Mumbai. They would be transferred to various Central Prisons in the state.
The surrendered convicts include four retired police constables, a customs official and others who were involved in arranging the landing of RDX, arms and ammunition at Shekhadi coast in Raigad district. The consignment was brought into the city and used in the blasts.
(With additional information from PTI)