Justice Katju asks Maharashtra Governor to pardon Sanjay Dutt


New Delhi, Mar 21 (PTI) Following the upholding of the sentencing of film star Sanjay Dutt to five years imprisonment by the Supreme Court in 1993 Mumbai blasts case, Press Council of India chief Justice Markandey Katju has appealed to Maharashtra Governor K Sankarnarayanan to pardon the actor.

In a statement issued here, Katju sought pardon for Dutt under Article 161 of the Constitution saying that he had not been found guilty of having played a role in the 1993 blasts and had suffered a lot.

Katju said the Supreme Court, having found that Sanjay Dutt had in his possession a prohibited weapon without a licence, awarded him the minimum imprisonment which was prescribed under law.

“Section 25 (1(A) of the Arms Act states that if a person has in his possession a prohibited weapon without a licence, he shall be awarded punishment of not less than 5 years imprisonment and not more than 10 years,” Katju said.

He added the power of pardon under Article 161 by the Constitution is different from judicial power as the Governor or the President can grant pardon or reduce the sentence of the court even if a minimum is prescribed.

“Hence, there is no doubt that the Governor can grant pardon/reduce the sentence. For example, in the case of Commander Nanavati who was held guilty of murder, the Governor gave him pardon although the minimum sentence for murder is life sentence,” Katju said.

He said the Supreme Court had not found Dutt guilty for the 1993 bomb blasts but only found him guilty of having in his possession a prohibited weapon without licence.

“Surely, this is a lesser offence than murder. When the Governor of Maharashtra granted pardon to Nanavati, surely he can grant pardon to Sanjay,” Katju said.

He added though Dutt had committed an offence there are extenuating circumstances like that the event happened 20 years ago.


  1. Irony of fate for Sanjay Dutt :
    Yeh Raaste Hain Pyar Ke [1963]
    Producer Sunil Dutt
    R.K. Nayyar
    Ashok Kumar … Advocate Buom Kesh Mukherjee : Sunil Dutt … Anilkumar G. Sahni Leela Naidu … Neena A. Sahni : Motilal … Prosecutor Ali Khan : Rehman … Ashok Srivastava
    This film was based on the true story of “K. M. Nanavati vs. State of Maharashtra a 1959 Indian court case where Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati, a Naval Commander was tried for the murder of Prem Ahuja, his wife’s lover.”, according to Wikipedia.
    However The film began with a “disclaimer” saying that all people and incidents were fictitious, and altered the case’s outcome!

    Bombay-based Commercial Pilot, Anilkumar Sahni, while being held in a prison cell, reflects on his romance and subsequent marriage with Paris-born Neena – much to the chagrin of his wealthy widower father, Rai Bahadur Gyanchand Sahni. The couple live harmoniously together and become parents of Rita and Pavan. He introduces his wife to his friends, Kewal Kapoor and Ashok Srivastava, and while he is away on a 4 month trip overseas, Ashok and Neena become friendly and have an affair. When he returns, he notices the change, is enraged, borrows a gun from Kewal and goes to confront Ashok. The confrontation results in the latter’s death, and Anilkumar’s arrest. His father engages the services of Advocate Buom Kesh Mukherjee, while the Public Prosecutor, Ali Khan, is all set to present evidence and argue that the accused be sentenced to death.
    Loosely based on the sensational landmark ‘Nanavati Case’ – which was India’s last trial by jury. Commander Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati was accused of the murder of Prem Ahuja on 27 April 1959 and was finally pardoned by the Governor of Maharashtra.
    Nanavati had moved in the same circles as the Nehru-Gandhi family for many years. He had previously worked as Defence Attaché to V. K. Krishna Menon, while the latter was high commissioner to the United Kingdom, and had grown close to the Nehrus during that time. During the time of his trial and sentencing, Jawaharlal Nehru was Prime Minister of India and his sister, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, was governor of Maharashtra state.
    All of these advantages may in other circumstances have availed Nanavati nothing, for a pardon might have been seen by the press and public at other times as a blatant misuse of power to help a crony of an influential political family. However, public opinion was decidedly in favour of Nanavati, seen an upright naval officer with middle class values and a strong sense of honour. While Public opinion thought the sentence was too harsh and supported a proposal, mooted by the Blitz, to grant a pardon to the cuckolded naval officer. The Blitz magazine played a significant part in raising public opinion in favour of Nanavati and keeping the issue alive for over three years until the pardon was granted.
    Nanavati spent 3 years in prison; it was feared that a pardon for him could elicit an angry reaction from the Sindhi community to which the Ahuja family belonged. At around this time, the government received an application for pardon from Bhai Pratap, a Sindhi trader who had been a participant in the Indian independence movement, and had been convicted for misusing an import license. Given his freedom fighter background, and the relative smallness of his offence, the government was inclined to pardon Bhai Pratap. Finally, since Nanavati had spent over three years in prison and given the circumstances of the case, Prem’s sister Mamie Ahuja was persuaded to forgive Nanavati. She gave her assent for his pardon in writing. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, then governor of Maharashtra, pardoned Bhai Pratap and Nanavati on the same day. After his release, Nanavati, his wife Sylvia and their 3 children emigrated to Canada and settled in Toronto. Nanavati died in 2003

  2. OB Van Politics of once almost worshipped J Katju_relevant quotes from SC judgment dtd 21/3/13 about Begum Zaibunisa Anwar Kazi,whose Daughter says Salem was coming to Begum Kazi’s house as property dealer .She should be asked about how many property deals Salem has managed or even tried for Begum Kazi’s family.Repeat offence is taken very seriously in law,in fact.
    (Reason) quote”It is indeed true that
    considering the role played by her in storing the weapons
    in her house or even for A-89 being also instrumental for
    taking the said weapons does create a strong suspicion of
    both of them being man of confidence of prime

    (Reason ) quote”(34) However, considering the repeated participation of A-
    119 in allowing absconding accused Anees Ibrahim to store
    the weapons at her house or with her, herself taking up the
    weapons in spite of knowing the purpose for which the
    same were sent by Anees, the evidence pertaining to
    second occasion clearly revealing that the weapons were 2
    AK-56 Rifles and the ammunition and thereby all the
    evidence establishing that the same being brought to India
    for commission of terrorists Act i.e. by and for the
    (Reason ) quote”(32)Now considering the period in which the
    relevant had occurred and the period after which the police
    had received the information, merely because evidence
    does not reveal of any material being found at the house of
    A-119 will not be a ground for discarding the said material
    in the confession of A-89. As a matter of fact, event the
    said material itself reveals that the said weapons were to
    be kept with her and were to be collected back by Abu
    Salem; non-finding of weapon with her clearly appears to
    be insignificant circumstance. “unquote

    (Reason ) quote”Retracted Confessions:

    38) It has been contended that since the confession of the
    appellant – Sanjay Dutt (A-117) has been retracted, hence, it
    is not trustworthy and it would not be safe to place reliance
    upon it. It is settled law that a voluntary and free
    confession, even if later retracted, can be relied upon.”unquote

    (Reason ) -recorded on pages 40-41 in clause 21of judgment in criminal appeal no 1060 of 2007.Quote”Confessional Statement of Manzoor Ahmed Sayyed
    Ahmed (A-89)

    i) A-89 was a good friend of Abu Salem.
    ii) He owns a Maruti 1000 bearing No. MP 23 B-9264.
    iii) On 22/23rd January, 1993, A-89 met A-139. A-139 gave
    the keys of his car to A-41 who kept a black bag of
    weapons in it.
    iv) A-139 and A-89 then went to the first floor of 22 Mount
    Mary, Vidhyanchal Apts. They gave the bag to an old lady, viz., Zaibunisa Anwar Kazi (A-119) and told her
    that the arms were for the purpose of causing riots, and
    were sent by Anees Ibrahim – brother of Dawood
    v) A-119 looked at the contents of the bag and then kept
    it at her residence.
    vi) After 8 days, A-139 called A-89 again and together with
    A-40, they went to the residence of A-117 where he
    gave them a blue rexin bag and a carton.
    vii) Abu Salem and A-89 then went to the house of A-119
    and gave the carton and the bag to her. Abu Salem
    told A-119 to keep those weapons safely as they were
    to be used for orchestrating bomb blasts.”unquote

    First such bomb blast must not be used by anyone for furthering ambitions of cheap politics or mishandling will bring situation like forgotten plight of Kashmiri Pandits even by J Katju because highlighting plights of Kashmiri Pandits will not make him Governor or Rajya Sabha MP and he must benevolently consider resigning in the name of unwritten propriety which he professed frequently in judgments in HC and SC, from present salaried post for not focussing in his job like former army chief,although projecting honest image.

  3. sanju shud be pardoned..so he can act in more movies and corrupt the youths…make monies and throw it on self-glorification… wot will he do in jail… sure, that jail will be as good as 5 star suite…so its better he be pardoned.. that way we can have stardom..rather than martyrdom… KATJU is right, very intelligent xjudge…vote for katju…as PM…! now.


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