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Can a murder convict be kept indefinitely in jail, asks HC

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New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought to know whether a person can be kept in jail indefinitely for committing a murder, even if he has alreaday served the sentence.

A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal raised the query while hearing a plea filed by former youth Congress leader Sushil Kumar Sharma, who is serving life term in the 1995 murder of his wife Naina Sahni.

Asking whether a person could be allowed to be kept in jail indefinitely for the offence of murder, the bench observed it is a human rights concern of the prisoner and termed the issue as “very serious”.

Sharma is seeking release after having undergone nearly 29 years of incarceration.

The Sentence Review Board has rejected the plea of Sharma seeking premature release, saying that he had been convicted for brutal killing of his wife.

The high court bench pointed that the Supreme Court, while commuting death penalty to life imprisonment to Sharma, had clearly observed that “the medical evidence does not establish that the dead body of the deceased was cut”.

“The second post-mortem report states that no opinion could be given as to whether the dead body was cut as dislocation could be due to burning of the body. There is no recovery of any weapon like chopper which could suggest that the appellant had cut the dead body,” the apex court had stated.

The high court also noted that the top court had ruled that the murder was the outcome of strained personal relationship which was not an offence against the society.

“He is incarcerated for over 25 years including remission,” Justice Mridul said asking why should the authorities keep Sharma in jail indefinitely.

The bench observed that there is no possibility of Sharma committing a similar offence again and the authorities do not see him as a menace to the society.

The court has listed the matter for further hearing on Wednesday and asked the Delhi government to present the original records on Sharma’s application to the Sentence Review Board for premature release.

Sharma’s advocate Amit Sahni told the court that Sharma is in prison since 1995 and he has already undergone the maximum prescribed sentence as mandated under the guidelines.

The Delhi government told the court that the Lieutenant General is the competent authority to decide the pre-mature release of convicts and he had accepted the Sentence Review Board’s recommendations not to release Sharma.

Congress worker Naina Sahni was murdered on July 2, 1995, night. Her husband and Congress leader Sushil Sharma shot her, chopped up her body and tried to dispose it of in the tandoor of a restaurant, the Delhi Police alleged.



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