Monday, July 15, 2024

Delhi HC judge recuses from hearing NIA’s death penalty plea for Yasin Malik


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New Delhi, July 11: A Delhi High Court judge on Thursday recused himself from hearing NIA’s plea seeking the death penalty for Yasin Malik, the chief of banned Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), who is undergoing a life sentence in a terror funding case.

After Justice Amit Sharma withdrew himself from hearing the case, the bench presided over by Justice Prathiba M. Singh directed the matter to be listed before a different combination on August 9 after obtaining approval from the Acting Chief Justice.

In an earlier order, the Delhi High Court had directed the Jail Superintendent of Tihar Jail to produce Malik from jail through video conferencing (VC) on the next date of hearing. In May 2022, Malik — who pleaded guilty — was sentenced to life imprisonment by a special NIA court in a terror funding case and was convicted of offences under various sections of IPC.

NIA has appealed the trial court order and has sought the death penalty for Malik. The anti-terror probe agency told the high court during the hearing that the accused was responsible for the Kashmiri Pandits’ exodus from the Valley. Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta had said that Malik avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty “very tactfully”.

“A wider issue troubling us is that any terrorist may come, commit terror activities and the court may say because he has pleaded guilty, we are giving a life sentence. Everyone would come here and avoid trial by pleading guilty because they would know if they enter the trial, hanging is the only result,” he had argued.

In another incident, in July last year, the Supreme Court was stunned to see Malik before it as he appeared for an appeal filed by the CBI against a special Jammu court order calling for his physical appearance for trial in kidnapping and murder cases against him. Later, four prison officers were suspended in the security lapse case.



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