The Supreme Court is all set to examine whether the High Court of Delhi has jurisdiction to entertain a plea against rejection of mercy petition of a death row convict, who was convicted by courts in another state.
On a transfer petition filed by the State of Chhattisgarh, a Bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra reportedly remarked: “How come the Delhi High Court has the jurisdiction? If that is the case then Bombay, Gujarat and Calcutta High Courts will not have any matter because the President sits in Delhi. Then other high courts will have nothing to do.”
In the instant case, the crime was committed at Chhattisgarh; the trial took place at Chhattisgarh; appeal was heard by the Chhattisgarh High Court; in the proceedings before the Supreme Court, the State of Chhattisgarh was the sole respondent; the mercy petition was submitted through the Jail Superintendent, Raipur, Chhattisgarh; and the rejection was initially communicated to the Secretary (Home) (Jail), Government of Chhattisgarh.
The death row convict, Sonu Sardar, had challenged the President’s rejection of his mercy petition before the Delhi High Court raising the issue of delay, non-application of mind, ignorance of relevant considerations and without taking into account that he was kept in solitary confinement.
He contended that the high court has jurisdiction since the President’s office is situated in Delhi and second, the cause of action also arises in Delhi.
Then the state of Chhattisgarh filed a petition challenging the maintainability of the petition filed by the death row convict before Delhi High Court.
However, the division bench of Delhi High Court rejected the contention and held that the court has jurisdiction to hear the plea of death convict. Apparently, the bench refers to a full bench decision authored by Justice Dipak Misra when he was serving as judge of the Delhi High Court.
The transfer petition has been posted to 12th January, 2017, and the court has permitted it to file an SLP against the Delhi High Court order.
Read the Delhi High Court order here.
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