The Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice to separatist leader Yasin Malik, who is presently serving a life term, on a plea by the National Investigation Agency seeking death penalty for him in a terror funding case.
A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh also issued warrants for production of Malik before it on August 9. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared on behalf of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), argued that the accused indulged in terrorist and secessionist activities and should be awarded death penalty by treating the matter as a “rarest of rare” case.
“In view of the ground that Yasin Malik, sole respondent in this appeal, has inter alia pleaded guilty to a charge under section 121 IPC which provides for an alternate death sentence, we issue notice to him… to be served through the jail superintendent,” the court ordered.
Let warrants be issued for his production on the next date of hearing, it added. On May 24, 2022, a trial court here had awarded life imprisonment to Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chief Malik after holding him guilty for various offences under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the IPC. Malik had pleaded guilty to the charges, including those under the UAPA, and he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
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In its plea before the high court for enhancement of the sentence to death penalty, the NIA said if such “dreaded terrorists” are not given capital punishment on account of pleading guilty, there would be complete erosion of the sentencing policy and terrorists would have a way out to avoid capital punishment.
A life sentence, the NIA asserted, is not commensurate with the crime committed by terrorists when the nation and families of soldiers have suffered loss of lives, and that the trial court’s conclusion that Malik’s crimes did not fall within the category of the “rarest of the rare cases” for grant of death penalty is “ex-facie legally flawed and completely unsustainable”.