Justice Aftab Alam, the judge who was part of the Supreme Court bench which upheld the death sentence of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case, demitted office today.
Justice Alam also headed the bench which delivered the recent verdict dismissing Swiss pharma major Novartis AG’s plea seeking a patent for its cancer drug Glivec and thus paving the way for Indian firms to manufacture generic drugs which can be afforded by lakhs of cancer patients here.
He headed the forest bench after the retirement of ex-Chief Justice S H Kapadia, which delivered the verdict yesterday on the mining issues in Odisha and Karnataka.
65-year-old Justice Alam was also the part of the bench which had ordered CBI probe into the fake encounter killing of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and subsequent elimination of his wife Kauser Bi by Gujarat Police.
The judge headed the bench which had ordered a CBI probe into the murder of Tulsiram Prajapati, a key witness in the Sohrabuddin case.
In both the cases former Gujarat Minister and BJP General Secretary Amit Shah is an accused.
However, dealing with Gujarat riot cases, he created some controversy when as an estranged former aide of social activist Teesta Setalvad, who is pursuing cases on behalf of riot victims, sought his recusal from the matter.
Rais Khan Pathan, who was accused of fabricating evidence along with Setalvad in the Naroda Gam case in which 11 people were killed in 2002, contended “a reasonable likelihood of bias” in hearing the matter by Justice Alam.
He said the reason why the judge should recuse is that he had delivered a lecture in London on ‘Promoting Pluralism Knowledge Program’ with which his daughter is associated.