Katju writes to Prez for Dutt, Zaibunissa

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 29, 2013 09:04 hrs

Press Council of India chief Justice Markandey Katju has sent his written appeal to the President of India seeking pardon for both actor Sanjay Dutt and the 71-year-old Zaibunissa Anwar Kazi, who were convicted in the Mumbai bombings of 1993 for arms possessions.

In both his appeals, Katju has referred to Portia´s speech in Shakespeare´s play ´The Merchant of Venice´ - that justice should be tempered with mercy.

While seeking pardon for Dutt, who has been sentenced to five years in jail by the Supreme Court last week after being convicted of possessing illegal arms, Katju said in his appeal that he "may not have remained in prison for 5 years but he has undergone sufferings which is substantially equivalent to that."

He has also argued that if Dutt deserved pardon, he should not be denied of it just because he is an actor.

In seeking pardon for Zaibunissa Kazi, Justice Katju writes, "She can hardly walk or talk. I do not think in her frail health she will survive 5 years in jail."

Earlier on Thursday, even as Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt made it clear that he is not seeking any pardon, Justice Katju said he will make an appeal both for Dutt and Zaibunissa Kazi, who were convicted in the Mumbai bombings of 1993 for arms possessions.

"He (Sanjay) might deny to appeal. That makes no difference for me. I am going to make an appeal both for him and for Kazi," he had said just after Dutt declared his stand.

"Two days back I received an email from Shagufta, daughter of Zaibunnisa, who was a co-accused in the bomb blast case, and was convicted under section 3(3) and 6 of TADA and sentenced by the Supreme Court to 5 years imprisonment. Shagufta requested that I should appeal for pardon for her mother too, just as I had done for Sanjay Dutt," Katju wrote in his blog on Wednesday.

Dutt, who was sentenced for a five year jail term in the 1993 Mumbai bombings, on Thursday said he is not seeking any pardon and would surrender before the law of the land and go to jail.

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