Memon was hanged just before 7 am, two hours after the Supreme Court rejected a last-minute appeal to delay his hanging by 14 days. For the first time ever, judges met in a Supreme Court room in the middle of the night to weigh the request before declaring that Memon had been given "ample opportunity" and all legal options to challenge his sentence, and should hang as scheduled. Earlier, President Pranab Mukherjee had turned down a mercy appeal filed by Memon.
Mr Rohatgi said, "I can understand the convict's last-ditch effort... (but) justice has prevailed... the convict had a free run of the legal process from 1993 ending in 2013" - a reference to the lengthy trial and process of appeals for Memon, who had spent over 20 years in jail.
"In the present scenario in which India is placed, with all kinds of hostile neighbours , with attacks and terror around the corner every day, it is not appropriate to do away with the death penalty," said Mr Rohatgi, who argued the government's case at last night's unprecedented court proceeding. He added, "However, the deterrence which the death penalty is meant to have has kind of been diluted in this country for the simple reason that by the time the death penalty is awarded, it is usually 15-20 years... and more often than not, the death penalty is commuted... we must speed up the process for death penalty cases for hearings, for reviews..."
Mr Rohatgi said that President Mukherjee has been "rather prompt in all these cases", with faster decisions on appeals for clemency than his predecessors.
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