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2000 Red Fort incident: SC says incident was direct attack on unity, integrity, sovereignty of India

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday observed that there was a direct attack on the unity, integrity and sovereignty of India as it dismissed the review petition of Mohammad Arif alias Ashfaq challenging the top court's earlier order, upholding the death sentence awarded to him in connection with the 2000 Red fort attack case.

A bench of Chief Justice of India UU Lalit with justices S Ravindra Bhat and Bela M. Trivedi said that there was no merit in the submission made by Mohammad Arif alias Ashfaq and is, therefore, rejected. The court noted that there is nothing on record which can be taken to be a mitigating circumstance in favour of the review petitioner.
The suggestion that there is a possibility of retribution and rehabilitation, is not made out of and supported by any material on record, it further noted.

"On the other hand, the aggravating circumstances evident from the record and especially the fact that there was a direct attack on the unity, integrity and sovereignty of India, completely outweigh the factors which may even remotely be brought into consideration as mitigating circumstances on record," the court said.
"Consequently, we do not find any merit in the instant review petitions, which are accordingly dismissed," said the court.
"When there is a challenge to the unity, integrity and sovereignty of India by acts of terrorism, such acts are taken as the most aggravating circumstances. It is well accepted that the cumulative effect of the aggravating factors and the mitigating circumstances must be taken into account before the death sentence is awarded," the court noted in its order.

Arif has filed review petitions against the top court's judgment and order dated August 10, 2001.
According to the prosecution, on the night of December 12, 2000, some intruders entered the area where the Unit of 7 Rajputana Rifles of the Indian Army was stationed inside the Red Fort, New Delhi.

In the firing that was opened by the intruders, three Army jawans lost their lives. The intruders then left by scaling the Red Fort's rear-side boundary wall. This led to the lodging of an FIR in the matter.

The trial court on October 31 2005 convicted seven accused including Arif and awarded the death penalty to Arif in the matter. The death sentence was confirmed by the Delhi High and thereafter by the Supreme Court. (ANI)

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