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NIA appeal seeking death penalty for Yasin Malik, Delhi HC Judge recuses

New Delhi: Justice Amit Sharma of the Delhi High Court recused himself from hearing the National Investigation Agency's (NIA) appeal seeking the capital /death penalty for Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik in a terror funding case on Thursday.
The predecessor bench earlier has sought Yasin Malik's response to NIA appeal, calling it a "rarest of rare case.
The appeal was listed for hearing on Thursday before the Division bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh and Justice Amit Sharma. While the matter was taken up, Justice Amit Sharma recused himself from hearing the matter. The bench listed the matter for August 9 before different bench of Delhi High Court.
In May 2023, the NIA moved Delhi HC challenging a Court order awarding life imprisonment to Yasin Malik, a separatist leader from J&K, in a terror funding case.
Earlier, predecessor bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh had issued notice to Yasin Malik through Jail superintendent, as Yasin Malik is lodged in Tihar Jail. He was the sole respondents in the appeal, note the court.
The court had also issued notice on NIA application for condonation of delay in filing the appeal. The court also summoned a trial court record in the matter.
Appearing for the NIA, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta earlier submitted that Yasin Malik is responsible for killing four IAF personnel and kidnapping Rubaiya Sayeed.
He also submitted that four terrorists, who were released after the kidnapping, masterminded the 26/11 Bombay attacks.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta further submitted that accused Malik crossed over to Pakistan in 1980s to receive training in handling weapons. ISI helped him become head of JKLF.
NIA in its appeal, stated that if such dreaded terrorist are not given capital punishment only on the ground that they have pleaded guilty, then the same will result in complete erosion of the sentencing policy of the country and will result in creation of a device whereby such dreaded terrorist after indulging, waging and spearheading an "act of war against the state" would have a way out to avoid capital punishment
NIA in its appeal, further stated that the crime committed by such dreaded terrorists, due to their 'act of war', the nation has lost its valuable soldiers and have perpetrated irreparable damage not only to the family members of the soldiers but to the entire nation.
NIA also stated that the respondent/accused, over decades has been indulging and spearheading terrorist activities in the valey and with the help of dreaded foreign terrorist organisations, having interest in India, has been masterminding, planning, engineering and executing armed rebellion in the valey in an attempt to usurp the sovereignty and integrity of a part of India.
NIA in its appeal before Delhi HC, further stated that the offences committed by the respondent accused are ex-facie acts of "external aggression", brazenly planned and executed by "acts of waging war against the nation," whereby "internal disturbance" was created through raising and using trained armed militia within the state and by helping trained terrorist, raised in enemy states, to infiltrate the borders of India to participate and catalyse such internal disturbances.
Earlier on May 25, 2022, the trial court judge, while sentenced to life imprisonment to JKLF leader Yasin Malik in terror funding case, said, in my opinion, there was no reformation of this convict. It may be correct that the convict may have given up the gun in the year 1994, but he had never expressed any regret for the violence he had committed prior to the year 1994.
It is to be noticed that, when he claimed to have given up the path of violence after the year 1994, the government of India took it upon its face value and gave him an opportunity to reform and in good faith, tried to engage in a meaningful dialogue with him and, as admitted by him, gave him every platform to express his opinion, said NIA Judge Praveen Singh.
The crime becomes more serious as it was committed with the assistance of foreign powers and designated terrorists. The seriousness of crime is further increased by the fact that it was committed behind the smoke screen of an alleged peaceful political movement, added trial court.
The manner of the commission of crime and the kind of weaponry used in the crime led me to a conclusion that the crime in question would fail the test of rarest of rare case, NIA Judge Praveen Singh said.
The NIA court, while sentencing life imprisonment to Yasin Malik, also imposed a fine of above Rs 10 lakh.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment twice (one for waging war against the nation and one in UAPA Section 17 for raising funds for the terror act).

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