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Bombay High Court allows 7/11 blasts case convict to answer law exam paper from jail

Convict Mohammed Sajid Marghoob Ansari had sought permission to attend the second semester law examination held by Siddharth Law College in south Mumbai from May 3 to May 15.
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 13:08 IST
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 13:08 IST

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Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday permitted a convict in the 7/11 serial train blasts case to appear for one paper of the second semester law examination from Nashik central prison.

Convict Mohammed Sajid Marghoob Ansari had sought permission to attend the second semester law examination held by Siddharth Law College in south Mumbai from May 3 to May 15.

The court had, in May, permitted him to physically appear for the exams and had directed the Nashik central prison authorities to produce him in the college on the exam dates.

On May 10, Ansari moved an application claiming he could not appear for some of papers as he could not be produced in the college on time. The jail authorities said Ansari could not be produced in the college on time despite genuine efforts.

The HC had then asked Mumbai University to consider if Ansari could be permitted to appear for the exam online. On Monday, the University's advocate Rui Rodrigues informed the bench that Ansari could be permitted to appear for one remaining paper scheduled on June 12 from Nashik jail itself.

Rodrigues told the court that University officials, after deliberation with prison officials and officials of the state Anti Terrorism Squad, had agreed to send an invigilator to the jail on the day of the exam. He said the question paper would be emailed to the jail's common mail address and also to the jail Superintendent's email address.

Ansari can then answer his paper from inside the jail from 10.30am to 12 noon, after which his answer paper would be sealed by the invigilator and handed over personally to Siddharth Law College's principal, he said. The bench accepted this arrangement.

The court also took note of an affidavit filed by DIG (Prisons) that to avoid such applications in future, a policy could be framed on the issue of holding examinations for inmates in jails itself. The court said this was a positive stance taken by the prison department and said a mechanism could be formulated on the issue. The court said it would hear the matter further on July 1.

Additional public prosecutor Mankhuvar Deshmukh, appearing for the jail authorities, said taking inmates convicted on serious offences outside jail raises security concerns.

While Rodrigues said this should not be taken as a precedent, the HC questioned why it shouldn't be. "Why not? If people want to improve their educational qualifications then why not? We want more lawyers," the bench quipped.

In September 2015, a special court had convicted Ansari to life imprisonment in the serial blasts case. In 2015, he had got permission from the court to pursue a law degree, while in 2023 he got the nod to appear for the first semester exams. The prosecution had opposed his plea claiming he was a high risk prisoner convicted on serious charges.

On July 11, 2006 a series of bombs ripped through seven Western Railway suburban trains, killing 189 commuters and injuring 824.

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Published 10 June 2024, 13:08 IST

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