Thursday, March 8, 2007

SC issues notice to Delhi police on Vikas Yadav petition

Satya Prakash
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi,
March 7, 2007

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Delhi Police on a petition filed by former Rajya Sabha MP DP Yadav’s son Vikas Yadav, who wanted stay of his conviction in the Jessica Lall murder case to contest the ensuing assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
A Bench of Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justice RV Raveendran asked the Delhi Police to respsond to his petition by March 19, the next date of hearing after his counsel submitted that the filing of nomination papers was scheduled to commence on March 23.
Taking a cue from the stay of conviction of Navjot Singh Sidhu that enabled him to contest Amritsar Lok Sabha by-poll, Vikas, sentenced to four-year imprisonment in the Jessica Lall murder case has moved the apex court for a similar relief.
Vikas said the December 2006 Delhi High Court order sentencing him to four-year imprisonment for criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence has resulted into his disqualification under Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act to contest elections and the court could cure the disqualification by staying the conviction.
However, the Bench clarified that the stay of conviction could be granted only in rarest of rare cases.
The High Court had sentenced prime accused Manu Sharma to life imprisonment while Vikas and Tony Gill got a jail term of four years each in the case.
Claiming that he was likely to be acquitted of the charges under Section 201 (destruction of evidence) and Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC, Vikas claimed that “irreparable” injury would be caused to him if the conviction and sentence were not stayed. He is also facing trial in the Nitish Katara murder case along with his cousin Vishal Yadav.
His counsel submitted that he had contested the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections earlier too and had lost by a narrow margin of 400 votes only.Citing the Sidhu judgment, he submitted that the apex court was empowered to stay the sentence as well as the order of conviction.
He claimed that he had not been charged with any offence that cast aspersions on his public dealings or morality. Vikas said he was "desirous of remaining in public life and wants to contest the election and face the electorate".
"The appellant has also undergone the sentence that itself mandates reasonable and exceptional circumstances for the order of conviction to be stayed," he submitted.
In an unprecedented order, a Bench of Justice G P Mathur and Justice R V Raveendran had on January 23 stayed the conviction of cricketer-turned-BJP politician Navjot Singh Sidhu in a road rage death case paving his way for contesting the Amritsar Lok Sabha by-election necessitated by his resignation.

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