The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice to National Investigation Agency (NIA) and sought its reply in four weeks’ time in an appeal filed by convicts in a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) conspiracy case.
Last year on November 28, Special Judge Shailender Malik had handed life imprisonment to four namely Sajjad Ahmed Khan, Bilal Ahmed Mir, Muzaffar Ahmed Bhat, Ishfaq Ahmed Bhat and Mehraj-ud-din Chopan for various offences under Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), after they pleaded guilty in the case.
Tanveer Ahmed Ganie was granted five years of rigorous imprisonment.
A division bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh listed the matter for next hearing on March 24.
Representing the convicts, the counsel told the court that the appeal being dealt with currently is only the first appeal on the NIA court’s decision of sentencing them for life.
The counsel further told the court that the convicts “pleaded guilty” to the charges.
“So the question is u/CrPC the appeal is limited to the extent of sentences, but whether u/NIA Act, I can argue more, because it’s notwithstanding anything contained in the CrPC. But in any case… sentence for life was awarded particularly when remorse had been expressed & time of court was saved. The most extreme sentence of life imprisonment has been given in the case of waging war against the State when no violence actually occurred”, the counsel said.
“It may be an excessive case of first-time offenders particularly when the court has come to the conclusion that they were not the moving figures. All of them were camp followers,” the counsel added.
The NIA lodged an FIR in March 2019 and started the investigation.