New Delhi: The Supreme Court today dismissed a plea of Ashiq Hussain Faktoo, Kashmiri separatist leader and a former member of terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, seeking a review of its verdict awarding life imprisonment to him for killing human rights activist H N Wanchoo.
Faktoo, who is in jail since 1993, is the husband of Asiya Andrabi, also a separatist leader and chairperson of Islamist organisation Dukhtaran-e-Millat.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi, which treated the writ petition of Faktoo as a review plea, said the “comprehension” of the accused that the earlier judgement was “erroneous” would not enable the court to “reopen” the entire case.
The bench, also comprising Justices P C Pant and A M Khanwilkar, said the open court hearing of the review petitions is available as a matter of right “only in death sentence cases”.
“The present writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India by no stretch of reasoning would fit into any of the permissible categories of post conviction exercises permissible in law as laid down by this court.
“The doctrine of ex debito justitiae (as of right) being circumscribed by the judgment of this court in Rupa Ashok Hurra …it is for the petitioner to exhaust the said remedy, if is he so inclined and so advised. Merely because in the comprehension of the writ petitioner the judgment of this court is erroneous would not enable the court to reopen the issue in departure to the established and settled norms and parameters of the extent of permissible exercise of jurisdiction as well as the procedural law governing such exercise.
“We, therefore, hold that the present writ petition is not maintainable and is accordingly dismissed subject to the observations as above,” the bench said.
Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Faktoo, had assailed 2003 ruling of the apex court, convicting the separatist leader, on the ground that his confession recorded under the TADA was not admissible as evidence on grounds including that it had not been corroborated.