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Anand Grover wins vacation stay over recent SC death confirmation of 'revolting' killers

The Supreme Court today stayed the execution of death warrants of Shabnam and Salim - convicted for murdering seven members of the girl’s family, including a ten-month-old child, and whose death sentence was upheld by the top court on May 15.

“Execution of death warrant is stayed,” said the vacation bench of Justices AK Sikri and UU Lalit as senior counsel Anand Grover told the court that the death row convicts have to move a plea seeking the review of the death sentence verdict.

“Let the notice be served on the Union of India as well as State of UP through their standing counsel. State of UP is directed to produce the original record on May 27, 2015. The execution of the death warrants is stayed in the meantime,” the court said in its order.

The court was told that the apex court had upheld the award of sentence on May 15 and on May 21, the execution of death warrant was issued.

Grover told the court that the death row convicts have yet to move the apex court seeking the review of its verdict confirming their death sentence.

The hearing witnessed some anxious moment as the court asked counsel how come the affidavit by the two convicts seeking the stay of execution warrant was signed on May 7 whereas the apex court verdict was pronounced on May 15.

“Did you get the signatures on the blank affidavit,” the court asked Grover.

Not defending the pre-dated affidavit, Grover said it could be the fall-out of April 30 hearing when, while reserving its verdict, the court had indicated that it may not interfere with sentence awarded to Shabnam and Salim.

The apex court on May 15 while upholding the death sentence of Shabnam and her paramour Salim for killing all the seven members of the girl’s family had said that the “couple indulged in such debased act of multiple murders driven by infatuation and exhibited no remorse”.

Holding that “the accused persons’ preparedness, active involvement, scheming execution and subsequent conduct reeks of calculated and motivated murders”, the court had said: “The act of slaughtering a 10-month-old child by strangulation in no chance reflects immature action but evidence for the lack of remorse, kindness and humanity. The crime is committed in the most cruel and inhuman manner which is extremely brutal, grotesque, diabolical and revolting.”

The “instant case requires us to award a punishment that is graduated and proportioned to the crime... we have reached the inescapable conclusion that the extreme culpability of both the appellants-accused (Shabnam and Salim) makes them the most deserving for death penalty”, it added.

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