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'Don't need lecture': Supreme Court slams Centre in Abu Salem case

Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh were hearing a petition by Abu Salem, a convict in the 1993 Bombay blast case. 

Dont need lecture: Supreme Court slams Centre in Abu Salem case - adt
New Delhi, First Published Apr 21, 2022, 6:34 PM IST

The Supreme Court, on Thursday, dismissed an affidavit filed by the Union Home Secretary in response to a plea filed by Abu Salem, a 1993 Bombay blasts convict, claiming that the 2017 judgement sentencing him to life imprisonment violated the terms of an extradition treaty.

Justice SK Kaul stated to the home ministry to not lecture the judiciary. He said, "The judiciary doesn't like it when you tell us to make a decision that you must make." The judge further added that the home ministry is no one to tell them how to resolve the issues. 

The apex court further added that the central government must be certain about what they want to say. The judges don't appreciate the comments in the home ministry affidavit like 'we'll decide at the right time', the court added. 

The home ministry, in its affidavit, has stated that it's not the appropriate time for the government to take a decision on Abu Salem's case and that the supreme court should decide it. 

Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh were hearing a petition by  Abu Salem, a convict in the 1993 Bombay blast case, who claimed that India had guaranteed to Portuguese courts that his prison sentence would not exceed 25 years.

On Tuesday, Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla told the supreme court that the government was bound by the assurance given to the Portuguese government by then deputy prime minister LK Advani that any sentence imposed on Abu Salem would not exceed 25 years. Bhalla added that the guarantee would take effect after the 25 years ended on November 10, 2030.

Bhalla informed the court that Abu Salem's claim that India is not complying with the assurance is 'premature and based on hypothetical surmises' and cannot be raised in the current proceedings.

The judiciary, he asserted, is independent in deciding all cases according to the law 'without being bound in any way by any position taken by the executive.'

The Supreme Court stated that it is not satisfied with the CBI's affidavit, which stated that India's assurance to Portugal is not binding on Indian courts. The court had requested a response from the Centre on Abu Salem's plea on February 2.

In 2017, Abu Salem was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 1993 Mumbai serial blast case. He was found guilty of transporting weapons from Gujarat to Mumbai in advance of the explosions. The blast killed 257 people, and more than 700 people were injured.

Also Read: 1993 Mumbai blasts case: Abu Salem gets life, Tahir Merchant and Firoz Khan to hang till death

Also Read: 93' Mumbai blasts verdict: Mastermind Mustafa Dossa, Abu Salem convicted for conspiracy and terrorism

Also Read: Popular heroines who dated underworld dons

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