26/11: Judge who upheld Kasab's hanging demits office
New Delhi: Justice Aftab Alam, the judge who was part of the Supreme Court bench which upheld the death sentence of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case, demitted office on Friday.
Justice Alam also headed the bench which delivered the recent verdict dismissing Swiss pharma major Novartis AG's plea seeking a patent for its cancer drug Glivec and thus paving the way for Indian firms to manufacture generic drugs which can be afforded by lakhs of cancer patients here.
He headed the forest bench after the retirement of ex-Chief Justice SH Kapadia, which delivered the verdict yesterday on the mining issues in Odisha and Karnataka.
65-year-old Justice Alam was also the part of the bench which had ordered CBI probe into the fake encounter killing of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and subsequent elimination of his wife Kauser Bi by Gujarat Police.
The judge headed the bench which had ordered a CBI probe into the murder of Tulsiram Prajapati, a key witness in the Sohrabuddin case.
In both the cases former Gujarat Minister and BJP General Secretary Amit Shah is an accused.
However, dealing with Gujarat riot cases, he created some controversy when as an estranged former aide of social activist Teesta Setalvad, who is pursuing cases on behalf of riot victims, sought his recusal from the matter.
Rais Khan Pathan, who was accused of fabricating evidence along with Setalvad in the Naroda Gam case in which 11 people were killed in 2002, contended "a reasonable likelihood of bias" in hearing the matter by Justice Alam.
He said the reason why the judge should recuse is that he had delivered a lecture in London on 'Promoting Pluralism Knowledge Program' with which his daughter is associated.
Justice Alam was elevated to the apex court in November 2007 from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court where he was the Acting Chief Justice.
He was transferred to the J&K High Court in June 2007 from the Patna High Court where he was appointed as a judge in July 1990.
Born in Patna on April 19, 1948, Justice Alam spent most of his early career as a lawyer in the Patna High Court where he practised mainly in Labour, Service and Constitutional Law Cases.
He was designated as senior advocate in February 1984.