New Delhi: Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and senior advocate T R Andhyarujina today had heated exchanges at the fag end of the hearing on the plea of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon when the former questioned the latter's locus to argue the case, calling the convict a "traitor".
"You have no right to intervene," the Attorney General said when Andhyarujina started advancing rejoinder arguments in favour of Memon's plea after the lawyer for the convict had finished the submissions.
Reacting to this, Andhyarujina said "the mercy plea is not a matter of grace. It is rather constitutional right of the convict" and Memon "cannot be hanged tomorrow at 7:00 AM" without him exhausting all remedies.
"His mercy petition (before Maharashtra Governor) is still pending... How can that be? He cannot be hanged with his mercy plea still pending," the usually calm senior lawyer said.
Rohatgi shot back "it is not the matter of adjudication here."
Andhyarujina then referred to the fundamental rights of the condemned convict and said his life was "hanging through a thread" and his efforts to win life till the last breath should not be mocked.
"What about the rights of the 257 persons (who died in blasts) and several hundreds who got injured," the AG asked and called Memon a "traitor" saying "the Supreme Court says so in its judgement".
"You are talking about the traitor," the AG said, when Andhyarujina was making reference of the representation made by eminent citizens to the President by bringing some new facts and evidence for claiming leniency for Memon.
On the "traitor" remark, Andhyarujina said such "animosity" should not be shown by the law officer. "We are not going into the facts of the case ... Let President ask me as to whether I am a traitor."
The AG also told the court: "Let us not forget that this man has to go to the gallows and it is beyond any doubt" and the judicial process has to end somewhere.
Andhyarujina was again agitated when Rohatgi took out his smart phone and read reports that Memon has moved the President for clemency.
The AG then said the other side representing Memon should be in position to confirm whether any mercy petition has been filed before the President or not. "They should tell. Yes or No. Media people are also here. Everyday they will file mercy petition and there will be no end," the AG said.
Not taking the remarks kindly, Andhyarujina said, "why he is ridiculing? Don't ridicule us. He (Memon) has friends and they can file." Rohatgi said, "Why are you not blaming him for 257 deaths?"
To this, Andhyarujina said "I have not gone into merits of the case."