Source : Indlaw
Nearly two years and three months after the deadly 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks that left 166 dead and 280 injured, the Bombay High Court today confirmed the death sentence of Pakistani fidayeen Ajmal Amir Kasab and upheld the acquittal of two other accused in the case, Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed.
In a 1,208-page order, a division bench comprising Justices Ranjana Desai and Ranjit More confirmed the death sentence this morning.
Earlier, Additional Sessions Judge ML Tahilayani (currently Principal Sessions Judge), who presided over the trial of the November 26-29, 2008 terror attacks, awarded death sentence to Kasab on May 6 last year.
The trial court had sentenced Kasab to death on five counts besides several life imprisonment sentences and other sentences.
The court had also acquitted Ansari and Ahmed for want of evidence.
’The appeal of Kasab has been dismissed and the death sentence has been upheld,’ the bench said in its order after nearly four months of hearing.
’This is, indeed, a rarest of rare cases involving uncommon and unprecedented crime for which sentence of life imprisonment is inadequate,’ the bench said.
’We feel that we would never be as confident as we are today in confirming the death sentence,’ the bench said, justifying the capital punishment awarded to Kasab.
Kasab, however, has one month’s time to appeal in the Supreme Court.
’We would inform him about the judgement and he has to take a further decision,’ his court-appointed lawyer Farhana Shah said.
Maharashtra government’s counsel Ujjwal Nikam said, ‘It is victory of truth. He deserves only death penalty.’
‘The punishment must befit the crime. The punishment must reflect public abhorrence of the crime. The rights of the victims must also be kept in mind. Examined in the light of the settled principles and after drawing the balance sheet, we are of the considered opinion that in this case, the lone mitigating circumstance i.e. young age of Kasab must recede in the background. Even after according maximum weightage to the age factor, we feel that there is no alternative but to confirm the death sentence,’ the bench noted.
It said, ‘In any case, in our short interaction with Kasab through video conferencing, we observed his demeanour. He did not appear to be repentant at all. He was perfectly sane. He was in proper frame of mind.’