New Delhi, Feb 9 (IANS) "The incident, which resulted in heavy casualties, had shaken the entire nation and the collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied if the capital punishment is awarded to the offender," the Supreme Court had said while upholding the death sentence of Afzal Guru.
Holding Afzal guilty of the conspiracy culminating in the attack on Parliament House, the apex court in its Aug 4, 2005, judgment added: "The conspirator, even though he may not have indulged in the actual criminal operations to execute the conspiracy, becomes liable for the punishment prescribed under Section 302 IPC (Indian Penal Code)."
Either death sentence or imprisonment for life is the punishment prescribed under Section 302 of the IPC.
The judgment delivered by Justice P. Venkatarama Reddy and Justice P.P. Naolekar had also said that Afzal's case "has no parallel in the history of Indian Republic," and that it "presents us in crystal clear terms, a spectacle of rarest of rare cases".
"The very idea of attacking and overpowering a sovereign democratic institution by using powerful arms and explosives and imperilling the safety of a multitude of peoples' representatives, constitutional functionaries and officials of Government of India and engaging into a combat with security forces is a terrorist act of gravest severity," it added.
The court said the "gravity of the crime conceived by the conspirators" to cause enormous casualties and dislocate the functioning of the government "cannot be described in words".
"The challenge to the unity, integrity and sovereignty of India by these acts of terrorists and conspirators, can only be compensated by giving the maximum punishment to the person who is proved to be the conspirator in this treacherous act," it added.
"The appellant (Afzal Guru), who is a surrendered militant and who was bent upon repeating the acts of treason against the nation, is a menace to the society and his life should become extinct. Accordingly, we uphold the death sentence," the apex court ruled.
"In the instant case, there can be no doubt that the most appropriate punishment is death sentence. That is what has been awarded by the trial court and the high court," the judgment said.