The Bombay High Court’s hearing on the confirmation of five defendants’ death sentences for their roles in the horrific 2006 Mumbai train explosions, also known as the “7/11 Mumbai train explosions,” was postponed on Monday after the bench hearing the case was informed that the hearing would take 5 to 6 months to complete.
Therefore, a bench of Justices RD Dhanuka and MG Sewlikar assigned to hear the case stated that it is already overloaded with work and instructed the counsel to request a specialized bench from the Chief Justice.
“Special counsel says that the record is voluminous and will take time. Petitioner is asked to apply for a dedicated bench,” The Court Ordered
Coincidentally, this development occurred on July 11, 2006, the sixteenth anniversary of the explosions that day.
On that dreadful day, RDX bombings at 7 locations on Mumbai’s suburban train network in a matter of 11 minutes had resulted in the deaths of 189 people and the injuries of 800 more.
12 out of the 13 defendants were found guilty after an 8-year trial. In 2015, the Special Court under the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crimes Act sentenced five of the twelve to death (MCOCA). The remaining defendants received life sentences.
In accordance with the law, the State of Maharashtra petitioned the High Court to confirm the death sentence.
Each accused person also submitted an appeal contesting their individual sentences.
Special public prosecutor and current Senior Advocate Raja Thakare informed the bench that the confirmation hearing would take at least 5 to 6 months to complete when the subject came up for hearing on Monday. He disclosed to the court that there were over 50 witnesses for the defence and 92 for the prosecution. He emphasised that the judgement was 2,000 pages long and the material was spread across 169 volumes.
Aditya Mehta, an attorney for one of the accused, emphasised that the majority of the accused had also filed appeals, which were admitted and available for hearing.
The bench decided that it was appropriate to refer the case to a special bench and instructed the petitioner to make a request to that effect to the Chief Justice.
In response, Thakare said that the confirmation matter had been heard by three benches before being heard by Justice Dhanuka.
Additionally, both advocates told the court that they had already made arrangements to have a bench assigned, which is how the bench for today was chosen.
The Advocates’ Association of Bombay High Court in Aurangabad wrote to Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Saturday to express their displeasure over the Supreme Court Collegium’s recommendation that some advocates be elevated to the position of judges on the Bombay High Court.
The bar association said that the High Court’s vacant positions were causing a growing backlog of cases.
On July 6, the Bombay Bar Association sent the Union Minister a letter with a similar subject. Because they didn’t want it to be seen as a PR stunt, the same information wasn’t given to the media.