Justice Katju writes to President, seeks pardon for Sanjay Dutt and Zaibunissa Kazi

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New Delhi, March 28: Justice Markandey Katju has sent a written appeal to the President of India seeking pardon for actor Sanjay Dutt, who was sentenced to five years in jail by the Supreme Court last week in a case related to the 1993 Bombay blasts case. He has also sought pardon for another Bombay blasts convict, 71-year-old Zaibunissa Anwar Kazi.

Justice Katju’s move comes despite the actor saying today that he would not seek pardon, would surrender at the right time, and serve out his sentence. (Sanjay Dutt breaks down, says won’t apply for pardon). The top court had ordered him to surrender within four weeks on March 21.

Asked about Mr Dutt’s statement, Justice Katju had earlier in the day said, “That makes no difference to me…I will appeal for him because he is not a terrorist and he has been in jail for 18 months. He has suffered a lot and in a way he has faced is punishment.”
Last week, the Supreme Court also confirmed 70-year-old Zaibunissa Anwar Kazi’s five-year imprisonment.

Justice Katju has already written to the Maharashtra Governor, pointing out that Article 161 of the constitution grants Governors and the President the authority to pardon or reduce a sentence.

In his letter, he had said that the Supreme Court has not found Sanjay Dutt guilty for the 1993 bomb blasts, but only found him guilty of having in his possession a prohibited weapon without licence. He reiterated his stand today.

When asked on what grounds he was seeking pardon for Mr Dutt, Justice Katju said that “public good is one of them, there can be many other considerations like humanitarian considerations for grant of pardon,” and added that the order of the President and a Governor is not subject to judiciary review.

Justice Katju also said that he had issued his appeal for Mr Dutt without having interacted or spoken to the actor.

“I have not talked to Sanjay Dutt, I have not contacted him, he has not approached me. In my first appeal which I issued for pardon, I did it without contacting him,” he said.

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