The Delhi High Court has directed the “competent authority”, which under the prison rules is the Lt Governor, to treat the parole plea of Vishal Yadav, who is serving life term for killing business executive Nitish Katara in 2002, as a representation and dispose it within 15 days.
Yadav had petitioned the court for an eight-week parole on the ground that he was at an increased risk of contracting the coronavirus in jail as he has a history of tuberculosis illness.
“In the considered view of the court, the subject matter requires to be considered by the competent authority in the first instance,” the court of Justice A K Chawla said, following which the convict’s lawyer suggested that the plea be treated as a representation and be disposed in a time-bound manner.
The Delhi government, represented by its additional standing counsel (criminal) Rajesh Mahajan, assured the court that the representation would be considered on its merits and will be disposed within three weeks.
Subsequently, the court directed the competent authority to treat the instant writ petition as a representation and dispose it within 15 days from May 1.
“The decision taken shall be communicated to the petitioner forthwith. Writ petition stands disposed of in the foregoing terms,” it said.
The government had told the court that there is no risk of coronavirus infection to the convict in the prison.
It had also said the prison records indicated the convict’s medical condition to be stable and not suffering from TB.
It had said under the prison rules grant of eight weeks ’emergency’ parole amounts to a remission of sentence.
While sending Yadav to jail in February 2015, the high court had said that he be not considered for any remission till he completes 25 years of actual imprisonment.
“Consequently, he would not be entitled to grant of emergency parole as it amounts to grant of remission,” the Delhi government said.
Yadav has contended in his plea that due to his prolonged TB infection, his immune system is weak and coupled with the poor sanitation facilities in prison, he would be vulnerable to the virus.
On October 3, 2016, the Supreme Court awarded a 25-year jail term without any remission to Vishal and his cousin Vikas Yadav for kidnapping Katara from a marriage party in February 2002 and then killing him for his alleged affair with Bharti Yadav, the sister of Vikas Yadav.
Another convict in the sensational case, Sukhdev Pehalwan, was handed down a 20-year jail term.
Bharti is the daughter of Uttar Pradesh politician D P Yadav who is in jail in connection with another murder case.
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