The death sentence given to Ajmal Amir Kasab may take years to be executed as the lone captured terrorist of Mumbai attacks could be 30th in the list of prisoners who are waiting to be sent to the gallows. Thursday's order by judge M L Tahaliyani is the first step of a long process which will include appeals before higher courts and most importantly, if he exercises his right, a clemency petition before the President.
Justice Tahaliyani will send his judgement to the Bombay High Court for ratification under Section 366 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The orders of a lower court are generally challenged in a higher court by either of the parties but in cases of death sentences, the orders are mandated to be confirmed by the High Court.
Once before the Bombay High Court, all the evidence will again be examined by it. The High Court will then decide whether to uphold the decision or to convert it to a less harsher punishment. Even if the High Court upholds the death sentence given by the special court, Kasab can challenge it in the Supreme Court. The apex court will again look at all the aspects of previous judgements, evidence, developments and arguments and give its final verdict.
If the Supreme Court upholds the death penalty, Kasab can file a mercy petition before the President under Article 72 of the Indian constitution. At present, 29 such cases are pending before the President waiting a decision on their clemency petition. Some of the important names include convict in the Parliament Attack case Mohammed Afzal, who is at number 22 in the list of 29 such prisoners.
Accomplices of notorious Veerappan -- Simon, Ghanaprakash, Madaih, Bilavendra, accused of killing 21 policemen are at number 18, Babbar Khalistan Liberation Force terrorist Devender Pal Singh who was convicted of killing nine persons is at 17, conspirators of Rajiv Gandhi assassination Murugan, Santhan and Arivu of Tamil Nadu are also waiting a decision on their petition at number 13. Bantu from Uttar Pradesh is the last name in the list.
Home Minister P Chidambaram has already clarified that each case will be decided on the basis of number in the list of such petitioner. Based on such a premise, Kasab's execution may take years to be decided.