The bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice U.U. Lalit pronounced the sentence after holding Ghulam Nabi guilty.
He was personally present on Wednesday in pursuance to the court’s July 1, 2015, direction.
The court by its July 1 judgment had set aside the March 2, 2009, TADA court verdict in which Ghulam Nabi was acquitted of the charges of terror along with Indian national Wasim Ahmed Malik.
The apex court, while reversing the TADA court verdict, convicted Ghulam Nabi but confirmed Malik’s acquittal.
Awarding him imprisonment for life, the court on Wednesday said: “We have reversed the acquittal (by the TADA court). Apart from confession (by Ghulam Nabi), there is nothing (by way of evidence). We can’t give him maximum or consecutive sentence. We can’t give less than that sentence.”
The court also declined the CBI plea to award him three life imprisonments as he was convicted under three different provisions of law, and that the sentences should run consecutively.
“Even you are asking for life and not the maximum punishment. He has just one life and not three lives,” observed Justice Sikri, not accepting the CBI counsel’s plea that Ghulam Nabi was awarded life imprisonment under three different counts of law.
Earlier, counsel Dushyant Parashar, appearing for Ghulam Nabi, urged the apex court to take a lenient view in awarding sentence as the man was 76 years old and was suffering from various ailments.
The court was told that Ghulam Nabi, who was arrested on October 25, 1995, has been in continuous incarceration till date.
The court did not pass any order on the plea by the counsel that Ghulam Nabi wanted to be shifted back to the Jammu and Kashmir jail as he found the climate there more hospitable.
The instant case relates to three powerful bomb explosions in and around the Maulana Azad Memorial Stadium in Jammu on January 26, 2015, when then Governor Gen. K.V. Krishna Rao (retd) was addressing a gathering of about 40,000 people, including VIPs, officials, political leaders on the occasion of Republic Day.