ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Akshardham Judgment - I

The Law at Work

The Supreme Court judgment in the Akshardham temple attack case has acquitted six innocent men who were tortured and then made to suffer imprisonment. The Supreme Court has come down hard on the investigating agencies of Gujarat and the way in which the lower judiciary has functioned in this case. The apex court must take this forward and revisit the existing prosecutions under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and examine the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act which incorporates many of the pota provisions.

This article was earlier posted on EPW’s Web Exclusives Section.

Incredible India it certainly is. On the day that a majoritarian government led by luminaries who are no friends of democratic freedoms and civil liberties was voted in by one-third of the voters in the recent Lok Sabha elections, there was some cold comfort for those who would like to believe in the rule of law.

The Supreme Court in its order of 16 May struck half a blow for the rule of law when it ordered the acquittal of all the innocents framed in the Akshardham temple attack case.1 Four of the six acquitted were released after being in prison for 11 years. Three of them, Adambhai Ajmeri, Abdul Qaiyum Muftisaab Mohmed Bhai and Chand Khan were under sentence of death since July 2006. The fourth, Mohammad Salim Hanif Sheikh, was serving a life imprisonment. The fifth, Abdullamiya Yasinmiya, was on bail after having been in prison for seven years of the 10-year sentence imposed on him by the trial court. The sixth, Altaf Malek, was out after having served his five-year sentence.

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