The Indian Supreme Court has ordered a fresh trial of convicted Pakistani national Mohammad Hussain, who was earlier given a death sentence for complicity in a 1997 bomb blast in New Delhi which claimed four lives, the Press Trust of India reported on Friday.
“The matter requires to be remanded for a de novo trial,” said a three-judge bench headed by Justice R M Lodha while setting aside his conviction and punishment, saying he was denied the assistance of a lawyer during his trial in the lower court.
The court’s ruling came on a reference arising out of a split verdict of a two-judge bench which had held the trial against the appellant was flawed, but had differed on the course to be followed.
While one judge had ordered de novo trial, the other had directed that Hussain “be deported to his country in accordance with the law, and till then he shall remain in jail custody.”
The three-judge bench, in its 32-page verdict, however struck a balance between the right to a fair trial of the accused and the “gravity” of the offence.
“Gravity of the offences and the criminality with which the appellant is charged are important factors that need to be kept in mind, though it is a fact that in the first instance the accused has been denied due process,” it said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2012.
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