Anup Surendranath
National Law University Professor Anup Surendranath who resigned from the post of Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court following the execution of 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon.Twitter/Anup Surendranath

The Supreme Court has refuted the claims that Deputy Registrar Anup Surendranath resigned over Yakub Memon's hanging and lashed out at the media for the reports that were "not only incorrect but highly misleading".

Surendranath resigned as the deputy registrar on Friday, a day after Memon was executed. In a Facebook post that he wrote on Saturday, Surendranath said he had been thinking of resigning for long "for a variety of reasons, but what was played out this week at the Supreme Court was the proverbial final nail".

However, the top court denied the claims in a statement issued on Sunday. The statement signed by the Secretary General of the apex court, VSR Avadhani, said Surendranath resigned to focus on his research project.

"The Registry of Supreme Court of India takes a serious objection to distorted news item reported by Electronic and Print Media that a Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court ( Dr ) has resigned in protest of the execution. This is not only incorrect but highly misleading," the statement read.

It further added that Surendranath, who was working on a short-term assignment on deputation in Supreme Court as Deputy Registrar (Research) has been repatriated to his parent Institution with effect from 31 July "on his own request as he wanted to pursue his interest in research projects in which he is involved in."

Along with the statement, the SC also released a copy of his resignation letter, where Surendranath did not mention anything about Memon's execution.

Surendranath may face action for involvement in Yakub Memon's case

Surendranath is likely to face the consequences of getting involved in Yakub Memon's case.

Surendranath, who was on the supreme court's payroll, was obligated to abide by the norms that does not allow him to contest a case as an individual without permission, sources told The Indian Express

In view of the alleged violation of the norms, the court will soon write to the National Law University in Delhi, where Surendranath is a professor, and the Director of Death Penalty Research Project, the source said. The SC will reportedly ask the University to take appropriate action against him for his "impropriety".

Surendranath was among the few lawyers who filed a petition with the Chief Justice of India on the night of 29 July seeking a stay on Memon's execution. However, the petition was rejected in the unprecedented overnight hearing and the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict was hanged early on 30 July.

A few hours after the execution, Surendranath, in a Facebook post, described the hearing that started on the night of 29 July and lasted till 5 am on 30 July as a case of "judicial abdication" that must be counted among the "darkest hours" of the apex court.  

"It would be silly and naive to see the events of the last 24 hours at the Supreme Court as some triumph of the rule of law – the two orders at 4pm on 29th July and 5am on 30th July (and the reasoning adopted therein) are instances of judicial abdication that must count amongst the darkest hours for the Supreme Court of India," he wrote.

Yakub Memon was convicted for financing the execution of 13 serial blasts in Mumbai on 12 March, 1993, that left at least 257 people and over 700 injured.

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