ANATOMY OF A CONUNDRUM

The very reason given by Justice Joseph in allowing Memon’s petition mandated its dismissal!! Law, indeed, is “not helpless” nor is the “court powerless” in the face of “technicalities” as Justice Joseph rightly said. Technicalities, however, were the very basis of Memon’s Petition and in allowing them to prevail Justice Joseph made the very law he invoked helpless and the court which he held powerless. It is NOT that there is any doubt about Memon’s guilt NOR was he denied due hearing of appeal against conviction NOR AGAIN was there any infirmity in review OR bias against him in any judge who heard his case AND his case in curative is OUTSIDE the limited grounds allowed to be raised AND AGAIN Memon was admittedly NOT being treated differently from any other (which is the reason for insistence on “rules”). “The right to life” which Justice Joseph invokes is not guaranteed to Memon alone but is available to every victim of Memon’s criminality AND to every Indian and that right MANDATES a life free of criminals like Memon. We may baulk at death as a punishment BUT its vires has been upheld and a conspirator is AS GUILTY as the principle accused in law. Procedural infractions in the absence of prejudice (and there is no prejudice that Memon suffered) create no right of redress. Justice Joseph ignored that procedure is the hand-maid of justice NOT its mistress and in giving “rules” so obtrusive a space, the conflict between substance and form unfortunately appears to have been resolved in favour of the latter! If Rules have to be followed precedent cannot be disregarded and Article 32 itself was NOT MAINTAINABLE against a judicial order passed by the Supreme Court itself.

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