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TADA court adjourns sentencing till June 21
June 19, 2007 15:47 IST
The TADA court has adjourned till June 21 the sentencing of 16 convicts, including those convicted for planting in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.
In an application, the convicts have cited a judgment of Justice Markandey Katju in which the judge had stated that punishing TADA accused even when the Act has expired could be a violation of Article 14 (equality before law) of the Constitution.
Citing the judgment, defence counsel Farhana Shah asked the court that the present case related to the applicants be referred to the Supreme Court or to the Bombay high court as an alternative and stay proceedings till then.
Shah said that Section 1 (4) of TADA stated the Act would remain in operation till May 24, 1995, and from the next day its provisions were inapplicable.
Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam contended the statements made by the judge were merely "expressions of opinion by the apex court" and were not binding on the lower courts.
"This is a deliberate move by the defence to prolong the judgment and nothing else," he said.
However, after hearing arguments from both sides the court adjourned proceedings till June 21.
Actor Sanjay Dutt [Images] and three others convicted under the Arms Act, as well as family members of prime absconding accused Tiger Memon are among those who are not party to the application.
The TADA court has so far sentenced 76 out of 100 people convicted for their role in the 1993 serial blasts, which killed 257 people and injured over 700.
Defence counsel Rajendra Shirodkar said that in his judgment Justice Katju had specifically said this point must be considered by designated TADA courts while conducting trials.
He also pointed out that the Supreme Court had quashed the prosecution's version in the case on the same grounds.