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Delhi High Court judge declines to hear NIA plea seeking death penalty for separatist Yasin Malik

Delhi High Court Justice Amit Sharma on Thursday declined to hear a plea by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) seeking death penalty for separatist leader Yasin Malik in a terror financing case.

The case was listed before a division bench headed by Justice Prathiba M Singh following a change in the list of judges who hear such cases.

“List before another bench, of which Justice Sharma is not a member, on August 9,” Justice Singh said.

The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief, who is currently serving a life sentence in the case, was virtually present during the trial from Tihar Jail in Delhi.

The court ordered him to appear virtually on the next date as well.

On May 29 last year, the High Court issued a notice to Malik on the NIA’s death penalty plea for him in the terror financing case and had sought his presence before the next date.

Subsequently, the prison authorities had submitted an application for permission for his virtual appearance on the grounds that he was a “very high-risk prisoner” and that it was imperative not to physically bring him to court to maintain public order and security.

The request was granted by the High Court.

In the current case, on May 24, 2022, a court here sentenced Malik to life imprisonment after holding him guilty of offenses under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Malik had pleaded guilty to the charges, including those under the UAPA, and was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The NIA has appealed against the verdict, stressing that a terrorist cannot be sentenced to life imprisonment just because he has pleaded guilty and chosen not to go through with the trial.

While seeking to enhance the sentence to death penalty, the NIA has said that if such dreaded terrorists were not given death penalty because they pleaded guilty, there would be complete erosion of the sentencing policy and terrorists would have a way out to avoid death penalty. punishment.

A life sentence, the NIA has argued, was disproportionate to the crime committed by terrorists when the nation and families of soldiers had suffered loss of life, and that the court’s conclusion that Malik’s crime did not fall within the category of “the rarest of the rare cases” for granting of capital punishment were “ex facie legally wrong and wholly unsustainable”.

The trial court, which had rejected the NIA’s plea for death penalty, had said that the crimes committed by Malik struck at the “heart of the idea of ‚Äč‚ÄčIndia” and were intended to forcefully separate Jammu and Kashmir from the Union of India.

However, it had noted that the case was not the “rarest of the rare”, which warranted the death penalty.

Published by:

Prateek Chakraborty

Published on:

11 July 2024

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