"A great relief" is how lawyer Farhana Shah, who defended maximum number of accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, summarised her reaction after the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of 10 out of 12 convicts to life sentence.
"This is a great relief. I am happy with the judgment which has come 20 years after the accused were arrested," Shah told PTI after the verdict was announced today.
In the Supreme Court, Shah had appeared for ten accused, who were given death sentence and argued on their behalf. Most of these accused did not have the financial strength to fight the case in the apex court and Shah had voluntarily accepted their brief.
Among them, death punishment given to ten convicts was reduced to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court on Thursday.
Another defence lawyer Subhash Kanse said the Supreme Court's verdict in 1993 bomb blast case should be accepted with due respect. The apex court had applied its mind to the case from all the angles and gave the verdict, he added.
Noted criminal lawyer Majid Memon, who had represented many of the accused in the TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act) court in 1990s, said it was "unfortunate" that actor Sanjay Dutt will have to go to jail after the Supreme Court verdict.
Dutt will have to undergo a jail term of more than three years after the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld his conviction in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. "...in its (apex court) wisdom and its fairness, he (Dutt) needs to be sentenced to five years in jail, consequently he will have to go in and suffer the remaining period of jail term," Memon told mediapersons.
Asked whether there is any hope for Dutt to stay out of jail, Memon said that the actor has a small window for approaching a larger bench or file review "but in that case also, I am afraid that unless stay is granted on the petition on Wednesday's order he will have to go to jail". Memon said, "In any case first the actor will have to walk into prison and then approach the Supreme Court larger bench." The advocate said Dutt can file a review petition but it is extremely difficult for him to get a bail.