Press Council chief Justice Markandey Katju, who has requested Maharashtra Governor K Sankarnarayanan to pardon Sanjay Dutt in an arms case related to the 1993 Mumbai blasts, on Friday said he was lending his support to the Bollywood actor only on humanitarian grounds.
"This is a humanitarian reason. I have supported many people on humanitarian reasons. For example, Pakistani Doctor Khalil Chishti. You may remember (that) I supported him. He was not my relative. I did not even know him. He was not in my relation, my friend. But I felt that on humanitarian grounds I should support him. Similarly, in many cases I support people on humanitarian grounds," Justice Katju said.
"I have written a letter to the governor of Maharashtra through the chief minister because the governor acts on the advice of the chief minister and not on his own discretion," he added.
Justice Katju said that in his letter he has given the reasons as to why Dutt should be pardoned in this case.
"He has already undergone 18 months imprisonment. Then this incident of 1993 and in these 20 years, Dutt has faced many hardships. He could not get bank loans, he could not go abroad for shooting without permission of the court, various hardships he has faced. And also that he has spread the message of Gandhiji in his film ‘Munna Bhai’. His parents used to do good social work. So, these are various considerations," said Justice Katju, while emphasising on the content of his letter written to the Maharashtra governor.
"And he was not found to be a terrorist. Other accused have been found to be implicated in that the 1993 Mumbai blasts, but he has not (been) implicated in that. So, he is not a terrorist. The only offence for which he has been convicted is that he was having in his possession a prohibited weapon without a license," he added.
Katju added that he would be meeting Maharashtra CM in Mumbai and would request him to pardon the actor.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari on Friday said there are various aspects to this issue, and added that the government will take his statement into cognisance.
Tewari added that Justice Katju has been a very eminent judge of the Supreme Court.