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Katju bats for Sanjay Dutt, seeks Pardon

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Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju appealed to Maharashtra Governor K Sankarnarayanan seeking pardon for Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, who was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case.

He sought pardon for the actor under Article 161 of the Constitution of India saying Sanjay Dutt was not found guilty of playing a role in the Mumbai blasts, but he had in his possession a prohibited weapon without a licence. He was awarded the minimum imprisonment which was prescribed under law.

Justice Katju appealed through a letter that said that Sanjay had given his best shot giving message of Mahatma Gandhi in his Munabhai films. He said that the Governor or President can grant pardon or reduce the sentence if the minimum is prescribed.

Giving instance of Commander Nanavati, who was found guilty of murder but given pardon, Katju said that the Maharashtra Governor can grant pardon to Sanjay analysing his behaviour and current circumstances. He quoted the famous speech of Portia in Shakespeare’s ‘Merchant of Venice’ that justice should be tempered with mercy.

However, BJP objected to the appeal saying, it would send a negative message to society. Union minister Manish Tewari said that the government could consider granting pardon to the actor as Sanjay was never stated as a culprit in terror activities by the apex court.

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