Delhi HC Disposes Off Manu Sharma’s Plea For Premature Release

Jessica Lal murder convict Manu Sharma had moved the Delhi High Court seeking premature release from prison.

2 min read

The Delhi High Court on Monday, 21 January, disposed off a plea filed by Jessica Lal murder convict Manu Sharma for his premature release from prison, news agency ANI reported.

The court also directed the Sentence Review Board (SRB) to consider Sharma aka Siddhartha Vashishta’s plea in the next hearing that is due to take place in March.

Sharma, who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of model Jessica Lal in 1999, had moved the HC seeking premature relief, similar to the one accorded to former Congress youth leader Sushil Kumar Sharma, who had served over 23 years in prison for the murder of his wife in 1995, PTI reported.


In his plea filed through advocate Amit Sahni, Sharma demanded that the 4 October 2018 SRB recommendation that had rejected his plea and the subsequent decision by the Delhi government to uphold the board’s view should be set aside, according to PTI.

The convict has contended that the reports received from several authorities, including the prison, police and social welfare department of the Delhi government, had recommended his premature release from jail.

According to Sharma's petition, he has served 15 years in jail without remission and over 20 years with remission, and that makes him eligible to get premature release.

Remission is part of a sentence that is granted to an accused after assessing one’s behaviour and conduct during his/her stay in jail, and the period of interim bail or parole or furlough. A remission is added to the sentence undergone by a prisoner in jail.

The petition also said that the high court had, in a PIL on 3 August last year, directed the SRB to strictly act according to its 16 July 2004 order, which had laid down the eligibility criteria for the premature release of a prisoner.

Manu Sharma has claimed that he fulfilled the eligibility conditions laid down in the said order, but the board, on 4 October 2018, declined to grant him the relief “without giving any cogent reasons” despite several reports favouring his plea for release.

Additionally, Sharma said that the SRB had "acted in a biased, unfair and illegal manner" while rejecting his plea for premature release, PTI reported.

Manu Sharma, son of former Union Minister Venod Sharma, was sentenced to life imprisonment by the high court in December 2006 for killing Lal. A trial court had acquitted him, but the Delhi HC had reversed the order, and the Supreme Court had upheld his life sentence in April 2010.

Lal was shot dead by Sharma after she refused to serve him liquor at the Tamarind Court restaurant owned by socialite Bina Ramani at Qutub Colonnade in south Delhi's Mehrauli area on the night of 30 April 1999.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI)

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