NewDelhi/Nagpur: A Supreme Court deputy registrar has resigned to protest against the judgement clearing the death penalty of 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon, saying two decisions within a span of hours are instances of “judicial abdication” that should count among the “darkest hours” of the apex court.
Professor Anup Surendranath, deputy registrar (research), who was appointed more than a year ago on contract, resigned on July 30, the day Memon was hanged to death, two hours after the court had upheld the death warrant.
His resignation, which has come in the midst of a raging debate over death penalty and whether it should be used as a form of the State avenging a crime, has been accepted and he has been relieved, court sources said.
There are nearly 20 deputy registrars, a few of whom have been inducted from outside judiciary.
“It would be silly and naive to see the events of the last 24 hours at the Supreme Court as some triumph of the rule of law — the two orders at 4pm on 29th July and 5am on 30th July (and the reasoning adopted therein) are instances of judicial abdication that must count amongst the darkest hours for the Supreme Court of India.,” Surendranath had remarked on July 30.
Surendranath is a faculty member of the National Law University, Delhi, and director of Death Penalty Research Project. He was also associated with the filing of the petition for stay of Memon’s death warrant.
“I have been contemplating this for a while now for a variety of reasons, but what was played out this week at the Supreme Court was the proverbial final nail — I have resigned from my post at the Supreme Court to focus on death penalty work at the University. It is in many ways liberating to regain the freedom to write whatever I want and I hope to make full use of that in the next few days to discuss the events that transpired at the Supreme Court this week,” he wrote on a social networking site.
When contacted, he said he has nothing more to say than what he has posted on the website.
Memon, the only well-educated member of the Memon family was found guilty of criminal conspiracy, arranging money for buying vehicles used by the bombers and organising air tickets to Dubai for some of them.
Hours before his death, a three-judge SC bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra started hearing plea for deferring Memon’s execution at 3.20am on July 30 but ruled he was given enough opportunities. Earlier, the same bench upheld the validity of Yakub’s death warrant, saying he had exhausted all options.