Sushil Sharma, former youth Congress leader convicted in the sensational Tandoor murder case, will remain out of jail on parole till the time the competent authority decides on his plea seeking remission and premature release, Delhi High Court said today.
Justice Siddharth Mridul made oral observation when the convict's counsel submitted hat there was a report that Delhi Sentence Review Board (SRB) has recommended to the competent authority for rejection of his client's plea.
On hearing this, the court asked "why do you (Sharma's counsel) assume something. They (Delhi government) have not taken any decision till date and the competent authority (LG) is the final decision-making body".
"You (Sharma counsel) relax. You are on parole till the final order of the competent authority," the judge said, adding that "in case they have rejected, you can file a challenge petition to that order".
The judge also said that his September 15, 2015 order made it clear that Sharma will remain on parole till his plea is finally disposed.
Delhi government's senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra also said no final decision has been taken yet in the case of Sharma, who was in jail for over 20 years for the sensational murder of his wife Naina Sahni.
He had shot her with his licensed revolver on July 2, 1995, taken her body to a restaurant, chopped it into pieces and tried to burn them in a restaurant's oven, leading the case to be popularly known as the 'Tandoor murder case'.
The court said in case any decision is taken and he felt aggrieved, he was at "leave and liberty" to appeal against it.
The court's observation came on Sharma's plea, filed through advocate Sumeet Verma, seeking clarification of its September 15, 2015 order and direction to the Delhi government to treat the convict as being on parole till passing of the final order of his release as per SRB guidelines.
Verma said that SRB's recommendation of rejection of his premature release was not only "arbitrary but also illegal".
The court, however, said since no final decison has been taken, the application will not be heard and asked Sharma's counsel to withdraw it and the advocate agreed to it.
The Supreme Court had commuted to life imprisonment the death penalty awarded to Sharma by a trial court in 2003 and upheld by the High Court in 2007, saying the murder was the outcome of "strained personal relationship" and convict was "not a confirmed criminal".
While reducing the sentence awarded to him, the apex court had said that "life sentence is for the whole of remaining life of Sharma subject to remission granted by the appropriate government under the Code of Criminal Procedure."