Delhi government backs jail for Shaukat in parliament attack

March 27th, 2008 - 8:53 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) The Delhi government Thursday supported the Supreme Court judgement convicting Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant Shaukat Hussain Guru for concealing information about the impending Dec 13, 2001, terror attack on the Indian parliament. Appearing for the Delhi government, Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanian told a bench of Justice P.P. Naolekar and Justice L.S. Panta that the apex court’s ruling that convicted Guru for concealing information after acquitting him of graver charges of terrorism and waging war against the government had “no error.”

Shaukat, serving a 10-year term in Tihar Jail here on the apex court orders, had moved the court late August last year contending he was wrongly convicted by it on a new charge of concealment of information, for which he was never tried by the trial court.

A trial court awarded capital punishment to Guru on charges under the now repealed Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act and the penal offences for waging war against the state. While the Delhi High Court confirmed it, the apex court reduced his sentence to 10 years in jail.

On his petition against conviction and award of death penalty by the trial court, the apex court acquitted him.

But the apex court convicted him on a new charge of concealing from the police the information about the impending terror attack of Dec 13, 2001, and handed down a 10-year jail term to him.

Guru has already twice appealed to the apex court - against his conviction on the new charge - through what is known as review petition and then through a curative petition, which is being heard by the judges in their chamber.

The apex court, however, has given him a rare third chance to raise his contention before it.

Earlier, appearing for him, senior advocate and former law minister Shanti Bhushan contended that the apex court conviction of Shaukat Hussain Guru - without a lower court trial of him on that charge - was a violation of his fundamental right to life and liberty under Article 21 of the constitution.

After Bhushan closed his argument, the government’s law officer opened his argument, contending that the apex court judgement had “no error”.

He contended that the charge of concealment of conspiracy under section 123 of the Indian Penal Code was not an altogether new charge, but was also virtually covered under IPC’s sections 121, 121A and 122, related to various charges of waging war against the government.

The law officer told the court that though Guru was not tried by the lower court on separate charges of concealing the information about the impending attack, he could be deemed to have been tried on this particular charge as well since he faced trial on similar charges.

Supporting the apex court’s ruling, Subramanian said that the ruling had also listed out various evidence against Guru, which was sufficient for his conviction on the new charge.

The law officer could not complete his argument owing to paucity of time. He would resume his argument on the next date of hearing, which is yet to be decided by the court.

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