The Supreme Court Wednesday asked the Maharashtra government to give Rs.14.5 lakh - the fee that condemned Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab's counsel refused to collect - to the kin of security personnel killed in the Mumbai attack.
The money will be distributed in equal proportion among the families of the slain security personnel, who were among the 166 killed Nov 26, 2011 by Pakistani terrorists. Kasab was the lone attacker caught alive.
Senior counsel Raju Ramachandran and Gaurav Agarwal, who assisted Kasab in his appeal against death penalty before the court, had said that they were not inclined to accept the Rs.14.5 lakh fee for their services.
They suggested that the sum could be given to the National Legal Services Authority or the Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority.
The apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice C.K. Prasad, while appreciating the decision of counsel, directed that the amount of Rs.14.50 lakh be distributed among the slain security personnel's kin.
Issuing the direction, Justice Alam said: "We appreciate the high standards of professional ethics" shown by Ramachandran and Agarwal.
Ramachandran was appointed amicus curiae (friend of court) to defend Kasab by the apex court when it took up his appeal challenging the Bombay High Court order upholding the death sentence awarded to him by the trial court.
Senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, who appeared in the case before the apex court for the Maharashtra government, said Ramachandran and Agarwal's decision reflected the "highest tradition of bar".
The apex court Aug 29, while upholding the death sentence of Kasab, directed the state government to pay Rs.11 lakh to Ramachandran and Rs.3.5 lakh to Agarwal for rendering professional service.