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Top jurists divided over pardon to Sanjay Dutt

CNN-IBN
Mar 29, 2013 at 10:18am IST

New Delhi: The debate over actor Sanjay Dutt's pardon continues to polarise top jurists even as the actor himself has refused to seek clemency. While Dutt said he is ready to surrender and go to jail, others are still pushing for his pardon.

Speaking to IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee said that Justice Markandey Katju, being the Press Council of India Chairman, was not in a position to file a petition to seek pardon for Dutt. "I want to know one thing. As the PCI chairman he has the function of sending petitions, I don't understand this. As an individual he can do this, but not as PCI chairperson," he said.

ALSO SEE Katju appeals for pardon on Dutt's behalf; Cong, BJP remain silent

"One thing I want to say. The Supreme Court refused to give Sanjay Dutt probation and the finding was that charges against him are grave. There were AK 47s, there were grenades. The court said these were grave charge," Sorabjee added.

To this, Justice Katju replied, "I'm not only the PCI chairperson, I'm also a citizen. So far as the Arms Act is concerned, it has been found by the Supreme Court that he was not involved in the bomb blast. Second even regarding this prohibited weapon, it has been held categorically that Sanjay had this weapon for self defence. This is the verdict of SC. If you say that the verdict is not correct, then you are challenging the whole judgement."

ALSO SEE Sanjay Dutt breaks down, says will surrender in 1993 blasts case

Amidst the clamour to seek a pardon for him, actor Sanjay Dutt on Thursday broke his silence and said that he will not seek pardon in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case. "Right now I am a shattered man. My family is shattered. I have very very tough time in my life, in our lives," said Dutt.

An emotional, and dejected Dutt broke down while addressing the media for the first time since the Supreme Court upheld his conviction in the 1993 case on Thursday. "I will surrender. When the time is given. Honourable Supreme Court has given me time to surrender and I will surrender at that time," said Dutt.

However, Dutt's statement did not deter Justice Markandey Katju from seeking pardon for the actor. Justice Katju on Thursday sent a written appeal to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking pardon for Dutt, who was sentenced to five years in jail by the apex court. Justice Katju also sought pardon for another convict, 71-year-old Zaibunisa Kazi. On what grounds he was demanding pardon, Katju had said that "Public good is one of them, there can be many other considerations like humanitarian considerations for grant of pardon." "If you study the Articles 72 and 161 of the Constitution, they do not state that who can appeal. Section 72 provides power to the President to pardon and section 166 to the governor," he said.

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