A three-judge bench of Supreme Court rejected yet another petition of death row convict Yakub Memon in an extraordinary hearing that began at 3.20 am on Thursday.
In a last-minute effort to save the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict, Memon's counsels had rushed to the residence of Chief Justice of India HL Dattu late on Wednesday night with a petition seeking an urgent hearing to stay the hanging on the ground that 14-day time was needed to be given to a death row convict to enable him challenge the rejection of his plea and for other purposes.
However, the SC bench turned down Memon's petition yet again noting that "in a case of such nature granting more time was not required". The bench, after more than an hour of deliberation, upheld the death sentence issued by a special Tada court of Mumbai.
Quashing the petition seeking a stay on execution Justice Dipak Misra noted that Yakub Memon was given ample opportunity to present his case. "Review petition for Yakub Memon was heard for ten days when the law mandates that only half hour has to be given," Justice Misra added.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi argued that repeated filing of mercy petitions is nothing but abuse of the process.
The SC bench, which had earlier rejected Memon's plea, decided stick to its earlier decision. The final order was announced at 5 am.
Following the rejection of petition, Yakub Memon's lawyer Anand Grover told the press: "I hope he will have a dignified death, I have exhausted all legal options."
Hours earlier on Wednesday night, President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the last mercy plea filed by Yakub Memon, following the advice from the ministry of home affairs. Following this, Memon's lawyers filed a petition with the SC in a last ditch effort.
Dawn breaks over supreme court. - as it dismisses yakub's petition pic.twitter.com/4mt1HS6ESv
— pallavi ghosh (@pallavighcnnibn) July 30, 2015
The lawyers had requested SC to grant a 14-day stay on execution on grounds that the President can't decide on a mercy plea overnight.
Nagpur prison authorities had already started preparations for hanging Yakub Memon on Wednesday evening. Memon is to be hanged at the Nagpur Central jail at around 7 am.
Earlier on Wednesday evening Nagpur prison authorities conducted a medical test and declared Memon was both mentally and physically fit.
Memon's brothers Usman and Suleman are already in the city. At midnight, an official from Nagpur prison delivered a letter to Memon's brothers announcing the time of execution.
The Indian Express reported that two magistrates and a doctor have reached the prison. The prison will be on a complete lockdown, and no prisoners will allowed out of their cells till the hanging is over.
Yakub Memon will be given breakfast, following which he can spend time in prayer. A priest will also be present to assist him in his final hours. The execution process would start as early as 6.30 am.