Highlights

  • Gangster Abu Salem's plea to ensure jail term doesn't exceed 25 yrs
  • Govt said plea premature, but Supreme Court could take decision
  • Don't lecture; Home Secretary can't tell us to decide the issue: SC

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Why Mumbai blast case convict Abu Salem's plea led to Supreme Court getting angry at Union govt

On Abu Salem's plea regarding the conditions of his extradition from Portugal, the Supreme Court pulled up the Narendra Modi government for trying to pass the buck on the decision.

A petition filed by gangster Abu Salem has led to a face-off between the Supreme Court and the Union government. Salem filed a plea to ensure that his jail term does not exceed 25 years.

He was convicted in 2017 in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. In his recent petition, Salem said that India had promised to Portuguese courts during his extradition that his jail term would not exceed 25 years.

In response, the Government of India said that Salem's petition was premature as the 25-year period would end in November 2030. Salem was extradited from Portugal in 2005.

Responding on behalf of the government, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said, "The period of 25 years, which is mentioned in the assurance, will be abided by the Union of India at an appropriate time subject to the remedies which may be available." The government also said that it was not the appropriate time for it to take a call on the issue, and the Supreme Court could take a decision, instead.

Reacting sharply to the government's response, the Supreme Court said, "Don't lecture the judiciary." The 2-judge SC bench said that it does not take it kindly when the court is asked to decide something which the government should decide. The judges said that the Home Secretary is "nobody" to tell the court to decide the issue.

Abu Salem was convicted in 2017 for transporting weapons from Gujarat to Maharashtra ahead of the serial blasts in Mumbai on March 12, 1993. Over 250 were killed, and over 700 were injured in the terror attack.

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