Supreme Court dismisses plea by Vikas Yadav in Nitish Katara case

Supreme Court dismisses plea by Vikas Yadav in Nitish Katara case

Murali Krishnan

The Supreme Court today dismissed a plea by Vikas Yadav, convict in the Nitish Katara murder case, seeking his release from prison.

Yadav had filed an appeal against the cancellation of his plea for parole. He had also filed a writ petition seeking his release on the ground that he had undergone continuous incarceration for 17 years.

When the matter came up for hearing today before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Surya Kant, the Bench said that the sentence is for 25 years.

Counsel for Yadav sought indulgence on the ground that he had been in prison for 17 and a half years. A plea was also sought to be raised on the “larger issue of violation of fundamental rights”.

The Court, however, declined to entertain the plea and dismissed both plea for parole, as well as the writ petition.

Vikas Yadav, Vishal Yadav and Sukhdev Pehelwan had been awarded life imprisonment by the trial court in the Nitish Katara murder case. The same was upheld by the Delhi High Court. The Delhi High Court had further enhanced the life sentences awarded to Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal Yadav to 30 years’ imprisonment, of which 25 years would be without remission.

This order was then appealed before the Supreme Court in 2015. The Apex Court in October 2016 sentenced Vikas and Vishal Yadav to 25 years’ rigorous imprisonment and handed co-accused Sukhdev Pehelwan a sentence of 20 years, without remission.

Both the Delhi government as well as Neelam Katara (mother of Nitish Katara) had previously filed petitions seeking the imposition of the death penalty on the convicts. However, these were dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Nitish Katara was kidnapped and murdered in 2002, in what the trial court described as a case of “honour killing”. Vikas Yadav, the son of a former Member of Parliament, was opposed to his sister’s relationship with Katara.

[Read Order]

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