Jessica Lall killer to remain in jail

Jessica Lall killer to remain in jail

Final judgment: Supreme Court upholds life term for Manu Sharma

Jessica Lall killer to remain in jail

Upholding the Delhi High Court verdict, a bench of Justices P Sathasivam and Swatanter Kumar said: “We hold that the prosecution has established its case beyond doubt against the appellants and we are in agreement with the conclusion arrived at by the High Court, consequently, all the appeals are devoid of any merit and are accordingly dismissed.’’

The apex court also upheld the conviction as well as sentence of four years jail term of Vikas Yadav, son Uttar Pradesh politician D P Yadav, and Amarjeet Singh Gill, an MNC executive, for destruction of evidence. Yadav is also facing trial in the Nitish Katara murder case.

However, the bench was critical of the media –– both print and electronic –– in its conduct while reporting certain sensitive cases. “Every effort should be made by the print and electronic media to ensure that the distinction between trial by the media and informative media should always be maintained. Trial by the media should be avoided particularly, at a stage when the suspect is entitled to the constitutional protections.
Invasion of his rights is bound to be held as impermissible,’’ the court observed.
Despite the prime witness turning hostile, the bench said the first information report  was properly lodged as per the statement of Shyan Munshi, who was present at the scene of the crime.

While agreeing to the apprehension of senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, who appeared for Sharma, the bench noted there is a danger of serious risk of prejudice if the media exercises an unrestricted and unregulated freedom such that it publishes photos of the suspects or the accused before identification parades are held. 

The bench justified the conviction by saying the specific evidence, especially their presence at the time of incident, removal of the vehicle used by Sharma at the time of the offence, call details as well as the evidence of other witnesses were enough to convict them.

Lall was shot dead by Manu Sharma on the night of April 29-30, 1999, at the Tamarind Court Cafe restaurant.