I delivered the sentence to Afzal Guru on the basis of evidence produced before me recalls the judge who sentenced him to death penalty in December 2002.
Retired High Court Judge SN Dhingra, who once headed the special POTA court and sentenced Afzal to death gallows said, “I did not have any personal interest in the matter. My job, as a judge, was to decide the case on the basis of evidence and give the sentence.”
Justice Dhingra told DNA, “I completed the case within a year as there was no need to go into the specifics and ample evidence to nail him was on record.”
Dhingra said, "A judge has to decide the case, execution of the criminal is not the job of the judge."
“Ministers on various platforms criticise the judiciary for pendency and talk of speedy trial…they forget the Centre is unable to take a decision on his (Afzal's) mercy petition and on many others on death row for several years."
"The Centre is unable to do even this much and at the same time, keeps blaming the judiciary for pendency," he said.
“We judges don't work with emotions, we go by facts of the case and terrorism is one thing where we have to take a stronger stand so that the message in society reaches,” Dhingra added.
Afzal Guru was convicted for his role in the attack on Parliament in 2001. On December 13, 2001, five terrorists had driven through a gate of Parliament House and opened fire, killing nine people. The five terrorists were shot dead. Afzal Guru was arrested the next day.
The Supreme Court sentenced Guru to death in 2004. He was to be hanged in October 2006, but his wife filed the mercy petition and the death sentence was stayed. Last week, President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the plea and Guru was hanged at 8 am today.