New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said it has left the legal question open whether Delhi High Court has the jurisdiction to entertain the case of a death row convict who has committed the crime in another state.
A bench headed by Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi disposed of the petition filed by Chhattisgarh government against the Delhi High Court order in which it had ruled that it has the jurisdiction to decide cases on the ground that the mercy petition of a death row convict was rejected by the President who sits in the national capital.
“In view of the order passed, nothing remains for adjudication in the matter. Needless to say that question of law is left open to be adjudicated,” the bench said.
The bench had Thursday, while disposing of the transfer petition of Chhattisgarh government, asked Delhi High Court to decide the case within two months after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that deciding the legal issue will take some time which will give undue benefit to death row convict.
Delhi High Court has stayed the execution of a man, Sonu Sardar, who was held guilty of murdering five persons, including two children, in 2004 in Chhattisgarh.
“If they (Delhi High Court) do it again, then we will come down heavily on them. We will make Attorney General as amicus curiae and see to it,” the bench said.
The apex court was earlier extremely critical of the Delhi High Court order and had questioned its jurisdiction, saying that the offence was committed in Chhattisgarh. It had asked how the Delhi High Court have the jurisdiction to decide such issues and said if that was the case, then Bombay, Gujarat and Calcutta High Courts will not have any matter as the President sits in Delhi.
It had on March 2, 2015 stayed the execution of Sonu Sardar after which the Chhattisgarh government approached the Supreme Court challenging its jurisdiction to hear the matter.
The Supreme Court had in February 2012 concurred with the findings of two courts below and upheld the punishment. His mercy petition was also dismissed by both the state Governor and the President of India.
Sardar, along with his brother and accomplices, had killed five members of a family, including a woman and two children, during a dacoity bid in Chhattisgarh’s Cher village on November 26, 2004.