The Supreme Court Friday ordered a double-murder convict, who was released in December last year due to “typographical errors” in a judgment delivered by the Delhi High Court, to surrender immediately before jail authorities.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan dismissed a plea by Jitendra alias Kalla to stay the HC orders, which had later sought to rectify the “typographical errors” and had directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to take steps to take him into custody at the earliest.
“Let the petitioner surrender and make an application for bail, which shall be considered on its own merits,” said the bench, as it found no justification to stay the operation of the orders passed by the HC in February and March to correct the mistake in the judgment. The goof-up had helped Kalla stay out since December 24.
The bench told the counsel for Jitendra that it would hear him on merits only after the convict surrenders himself and adjourned the matter for four weeks after issuing notices to the police in the matter.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for the victims’ relatives, had opposed any lenient view and pressed for immediate arrest of the convict.
Jitendra was convicted for killing Anil Bhadana, the then president of Satyawati College Students’ Union, on March 10, 1999. The next day, he shot dead the father of Sumit Nayyar, who was an eyewitness in Bhadana’s murder case. He was awarded 30 years in jail by a trial court in the first murder case and was asked to remain in prison for the rest of his life in the second case.
But in a judgment delivered by an HC bench of Justice G S Sistani and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal on December 24 last year, Jitendra was let off after noting that he had already served 16 years and 10 months in jail.
Later, relatives of the two deceased moved the HC, pointing out errors and also apprehended threats to their lives. Bhadana’s father and brother, the eyewitness in Bhadana murder case, and the complainant in the case also sought police protection.
On February 14, the HC retracted its judgment admitting that, “a typographical error was noticed post delivery of the judgment dated December 24, 2016”.
The HC bench rectified the error and deleted the two extraneous sentences “to the period already undergone by the appellant i.e. 16 years and 10 months” and “the appellant be released forthwith, if not required in any other case”.