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SC stays execution of Red Fort attacker

- Relief for terrorist
Red Fort

New Delhi, April 28: The Supreme Court today stayed the execution of Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist Mohd Arif alias Ashfaq, convicted in the December 2000 Red Fort attack that killed three security personnel.

The bench of Chief Justice R.M. Lodha and Justices Madan B. Lokur and Kurien Joseph sought responses from the Centre, Delhi government and the registrar of the Supreme Court on Arif’s petition seeking commutation of his death sentence to a life term.

Besides pleading that he had already spent 13 years in jail, Arif through his counsel B.S. Bilworia contended he had suffered gross miscarriage of justice since the apex court had not heard his review petition against the death sentence in an open court.

He challenged the constitutional validity of Order XL Rule 3 of the Supreme Court Rules, which provides for disposal of all review petitions in judges’ chambers without any oral arguments in an open court.

The petition said: “This rule makes no exception for death sentence cases, which, by judicial definition, are treated as ‘rarest of the rare’.””

The prosecution’s says that around 9pm on December 22, 2000, Arif and two other Lashkar militants armed with AK56s and hand grenades attacked the Red Fort, killing two personnel of the 7 Rajputana Rifles on the spot and injuring another, who died in hospital the same night.

A sessions court sentenced Arif to death on October 31, 2005. This was upheld by Delhi High Court. The Supreme Court upheld the death sentence in 2011.