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Supreme Court Sentences Four Convicts in 1996 Lajpat Nagar Blast Case to Life Imprisonment Without Remission [Read Judgement]

By Harshvardhan Sharma      07 July, 2023 06:21 PM      0 Comments
Supreme Court Sentences Four Convicts in 1996 Lajpat Nagar Blast Case to Life Imprisonment Without Remission

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday sentenced four convicts of the 1996 Lajpat Nagar bomb blast case to life imprisonment for the remainder of their lives without remission because of severity of the offence resulting in deaths of innocent persons as part of “international conspiracy” to “destabilise” India.

“In view of the severity of the offence resulting in deaths of innocent persons and the role played by each accused person, all these accused persons are sentenced to imprisonment for life, without remission, extending to natural life,” a bench of Justices B R Gavai, Vikram Nath, and Sanjay Karol said.

The court also rued that a prominent market in the heart of the capital was attacked but the case has not been dealt with the required degree of promptitude and attention.

It said four accused Mohd Naushad, Mirza Nissar Hussain, Mohd Ali Bhatt and Javed Ahmed Khan would spend remainder of their natural life behind the prison without remission.

The RDX blast in a car in the market claimed lives of 13 people and left nearly 38 injured on May 21, 1996.

The court highlighted that expeditious trial of such cases is the need of the hour, especially when it concerns national security and the common man.

“The record reveals it is only on the prodding on the part of the judiciary that the trial could be completed after more than a decade. The delay, be it for whatever reason, attributable to the judge incharge or the prosecution, has certainly compromised national interest,” the bench said.

“To our great dismay, we are forced to observe that this may be due to the involvement of influential persons which is evident from the fact that out of several accused persons, only few have been put to trial. In our considered view, the matter ought to have been handled with urgency and sensitivity at all levels,” the bench added.

In a strong remark, the bench said that the accused persons who have not faced trial or those against whom the state has not preferred an appeal, prima facie, seem to be a part of this conspiracy. However, since they are not before us, we refrain from delving into evidence against those persons.

In view of confession of an accused, Javed Ahmed Khan, the bench said it is evident that all these accused persons were known to each other and were participating with the common objective to carry out the blast in Delhi in furtherance of an international conspiracy to cause disruptive activities in India.

The court rejected the prosecution's plea for death penalty, saying though the offence “falls within the category of rarest of rare cases”, the delay of 27 years in all and 14 years in the trial court in deciding the case are the mitigating circumstances in favour of the convicts.

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