Beyond 'collective conscience': SC had deliberated on Afzal Guru's guilt in detail

Afzal Guru, executed in 2013 for his role in the terror attack on Parliament, is at the centre of a political storm after protests in universities across the country. Those opposed to the death sentence handed out to him have termed it as a 'judicial killing' and said that it was carried out merely to satisfy a questionable 'collective conscience.'

However, the Supreme Court, in its judgment, had analysed the evidence threadbare before arriving its conclusion over Afzal Guru's conviction as well as the sentence given to him. Afzal Guru's lawyers had argued that the recovery of incriminating evidence (mobile phones, laptops) which came as a result of Afzal Guru's own disclosure statement could not be used as evidence against him. The court, however, held that the prosecution had successfully proved the facts which had been stated in the confessional statement, and that it was a ground to presume that the confession was voluntary. The court held that the confessions 'have not only been validly proved but also been validly recorded.'

Beyond collective conscience: SC had deliberated on Afzal Gurus guilt in detail

Afzal Guru. File photo. AFP

Another claim made on several occasions has been that Afzal Guru did not get proper legal representation in court. The apex court, however, noted that Afzal Guru 'did not object to Neeraj Bansal representing him as the counsel.' The court did note that he had mentioned four names of lawyers who could represent him, but that they had declined to appear in his case.  However, the court noted that 'it is not a case of constructive denial of counsel to (Afzal Guru)'.

Afzal Guru's lawyer had also argued that the police allowed Afzal Guru to be interviewed by media channels, which could have influenced the judges hearing his case. The bench of P Nandrajog and U Mehra noted, "We may only add that judges are trained, skilled and have sufficient experience to shut their minds from receiving hearsay evidence or being influenced by the media."

As reported by The Indian Express, the main evidence against Afzal Guru was telephone conversations, various purchases made by him of material which was used in the attack and a laptop which was found in his custody.

While pronouncing the guilty verdict, the court said, "From the facts and circumstances, it therefore, stands established that accused (Afzal Guru) was a part to the conspiracy to attack Parliament when it was in session. He procured hideouts for the terrorists, was instrumental in the smuggling of arms and ammunitions used by the terrorists. He had actively purchased the chemicals used for making the explosives. Had been involved in the purchase of a motorcycle used for  a recee by the terrorists and had been involved in the purchase of the white Ambassador Car used by the terrorists."

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Updated Date: Feb 26, 2016 20:27:12 IST

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