New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the death sentence awarded to Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone gunman captured alive during the November 26-29, 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
An apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice CK Prasad stayed the death sentence till it hears Kasab`s petition challenging his conviction and death sentence.
At the outset of the hearing, Justice Alam said that "we have to afford him full opportunity" to defend himself as provided in the judicial system.
"That is the price we have to pay to uphold the supremacy of law," the court said.
Issuing notice to the Maharashtra government, the court directed all the parties in the case to complete their pleadings by November 30. The final hearing in the case would be held on January 31, 2012.
Before the final hearing, the matter would be listed on Friday when it is likely to be tagged with the state government`s petition challenging the acquittal of Fahim Harshad Mohammad Yusuf Ansari and Sabauddin Shaikh in the Mumbai terror attack case.
Senior counsel Raju Ramachandran, who has been appointed amicus curiae (friend of the court) to defend Kasab, said: "People may believe it otherwise, but the due process of law demands that the accused should be given full opportunity to defend his case in the highest court."
Kasab was one of 10 Pakistanis who illegally sailed into India from Pakistan and launched the November 26-29 mayhem killing 166 people, including many foreigners.
He was awarded death sentence by a Mumbai trial court on May 06, 2010. Besides other charges, he was convicted for waging war against the nation. The Bombay High Court upheld the verdict.