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May 05, 2010 at 09:32am IST

Kasab case won't go Afzal Guru way: Moily

CNN-IBN: The prosecution has asked for death penalty for Ajmal Kasab. Once the processes are followed, are we to believe that Ajmal Kasab much like Afzal Guru will wait his time? There are currently 32 people on the death row, would Kasab be the 33rd?

Veerappa Moily: That is a different area to be discussed. It’s not at this stage we need to discuss. You also know that I have already gone on record saying that there is an appeal provided. He may go for an appeal or he may not go for an appeal. That is another thing. The question is that after 20-25 years nobody has been hanged even though many of them have been sentenced to be hanged. So that is another matter to be discussed. I don’t think that will come within the regime or area of discussion, particularly trial and conviction.

CNN-IBN: The only reason one asks you this question is the fear that Ajmal Kasab will go the Afzal Guru way -- where no decision will be taken years on end?

Veerappa Moily: I am sorry it is not the UPA Government, any government even earlier. The question is that it is not Afzal Guru alone, so many people earlier have been sentenced to death but the decision has not been taken. This is how a rule of law functions. This is how, particularly on the question of mercy petition, things have been processed. It is not processed overnight. Ultimately, it is a human question involved.

CNN-IBN: What prevents the Government from taking up this matter expeditiously? After all you said the judiciary has acted fast and fair?

Veerappa Moily: There are more than 30-40 people waiting in there and mercy petitions have been pending. I don’t think you can pick Afzal Guru from out of that list and hang him. It is not done in any country and particularly the country where the rule of law and the judiciary is at the highest.

CNN-IBN: Are you saying that till the time those 30-40 cases are not disposed off, whether it’s five years, ten years, the country has to wait for the final punishment to be meted out to Ajmal Kasab?

Veerappa Moily: I am very sorry to say, let us not mince the matter and this is a case where the conviction has happened and they are announcing that. I don’t think you should tag on to this to the other and every case is not the same.

CNN-IBN: Soli Sorabjee, former attorney general, was here on CNN-IBN on Monday and he said that there is nothing that stops the UPA government from treating Kasab’s case differently and in fact, the Supreme Court has said that the matters should be taken up expeditiously with mercy petitions that the queue system is not sacrosanct and it doesn’t need to be followed when it came to someone like Ajmal Kasab?

Veerappa Moily: Why not. I am not asking that this has to wait. I totally agree with senior advocate Fali Nariman that nothing need wait. That all depends how the case goes on, how the process is on.

CNN-IBN: So you are leaving the window open that Ajmal Kasab's case could be treated differently?

Veerappa Moily: Very much. After all cases are cases. You should know if the conviction takes place for hanging or whatever it may be, the punishment need not wait. Maybe we don’t know from case to case, there is a difference. You can't say club this case along with others.

CNN-IBN: Isn’t it time that terror related case be tried in a time-bound manner? We have, if necessary a system that these cases are tried through the due process but in a time bound manner?

Veerappa Moily: We should go by a time bound. Mainly I am telling you if the justice is to be done it has to be done. All criminal cases depend upon the eyewitnesses or circumstantial evidence and if the trial is delayed, the fervour of the witness or the enthusiasm of the witnesses will dry up. Then ultimately they will not be the same kind of witnesses which had come forward to depose before the court. That is one thing.

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