The government Saturday was accused by some jurists of hanging
Afzal Guru on account of political expediency as it was finding
itself on the backfoot on issues of national security and law and
"He (Afzal Guru) was hanged not for his role in parliament attack
but because the BJP has put the government on the backfoot on the
question of national security and crime situation," said Yug Mohit
Chaudhary, senior counsel at the Bombay High Court.
Delivering the Second Shahid Azmi
Memorial Lecture at the Indian Law Institute, Chaudhary wondered
why Guru was hanged just before the budget session of parliament
quite like Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani terrorist held guilty in the
Mumbai terror attack, who was hanged before the winter session of
"Afzal Guru was hanged on the eve of the budget session of
parliament. Same had happened in the case of Kasab", Yug Mohit
Chaudhary said, pointing to the manner in which the government
allegedly flouted all statutory provisions in his hanging.
Speaking on the subject 'Capital Punishment: An Agenda for
Abolition', Chaudhary said there has to be a gap between informing
the death convict of the rejection of his mercy petition and
actual carrying out of the sentence so that he could exercise the
option of seeking any available judicial remedy.
Claiming that Guru was not given an opportunity to meet his wife
and child and his family too was not informed about the decision
to hang him, Chaudhary wondered if we were living in a police
He said every person has a right to judicial remedy till his last
breadth. He cited instances in the past when just a day before
their hanging convicts got reprieve from the top court.
Opposing the death penalty, the senior counsel said: "Judiciary is
error prone as any other institution in the country."
He cited several instances to drive home his point. He said that
even the apex court admitted that the doctrine of rarest of rare
case for awarding death sentence was subjective and arbitrary.
Senior counsel Vrinda Grover, who presided over the function,
responding to a query said that Afzal Guru faced the trial without
the assistance of a defence counsel as he was told that the eight
names that he had given to represent him in the trial had declined
to appear for him.
Grover said that Guru told the court that the junior lawyer that
was assigned for his defence was not acceptable to him.
Grover said the junior lawyer, who appeared for him, did not have
the number of years of practice to entitle him to be on the panel
of legal aid.
The meeting passed a resolution condemning the manner in which
Guru was hanged in secrecy in breach of all rules and regulations.
Rights group People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), in a
statement, said that the "tearing hurry with which Afzal Guru was
hanged, accompanied by the flouting of all established norms by
not giving his family their legal right to meet him before taking
him to the gallows, clearly indicates that there were political
considerations behind taking this step".
"The PUCL feels that starting with Kasab, now with Afzal Guru, the
country is going to witness a spate of executions. We give a call
to the nation to break this spiral of executions," it said.