A convict set free due to a typographical error in the Delhi High Court’s order has been directed by the Supreme Court to surrender first before hearing his plea challenging the order to re-arrest him. A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan refused to grant any relief to the convict, a former Delhi University student, who was awarded 30 years jail term by a trial court in a murder case.
The court made it clear to the lawyer of the “untraceable” convict that he should first surrender and make an application for bail only then it would consider his plea.
It also issued notice to the Delhi government on a separate plea filed by relatives of the victims seeking directions to send him back to jail.
“Insofar as stay of orders (of high court) dated February 14 and March 22 is concerned, we are not granting stay at this stage. Let the petitioner surrender and make an application for bail, which shall be considered on its own merits,” the bench said.
The top court was hearing an appeal filed by one Jitender questioning the high court’s order for blaming his release to a “typographical error” and ordering his re-arrest.
Another petition was filed by relatives of the victims seeking directions to send him back to jail.
The high court had earlier directed Jitendra’s arrest whose forthwith release was ordered by it on December 24, 2016.
The court on February 14, 2017 had modified its December order by deleting two sentences of its judgment that said the convict be sentenced “to the period already undergone of 16 years and 10 months” and that he “be released forthwith if not required in any other case”.
Since his release, the convict was untraceable and the high court had directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to take steps to take him into custody at the earliest.
Jitender was awarded 30 years jail term by a trial court in a murder case and to remain in prison for the rest of his life in a separate case.
One case was with regard to the murder of a student union president of Satyawati College here and the other was for murdering the father of an eyewitness in the first case.
On March 10, 1999, Jitender had stormed into a wedding reception in north Delhi and had shot dead Anil Bhadana, the then president of Satyawati College Students’ Union.
The prosecution had contended that Jitender had killed Bhadana as he was about to depose against him (Jitender) in a criminal case.
The next day, he had gone to the house of one of the eyewitnesses who had informed police about Bhadana’s murder.
Jitender had pumped three bullets into the chest of the eyewitness’ father, killing him on the spot, police had told the trial court.
The high court, however, had modified the jail term saying the sentence awarded by the trial court was in excess of the requirement of the situation.
It had said that “tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye” cannot be the criteria for handing down punishment to convicts in a civilised society.