Wednesday, August 11, 2010

SC rejects Manu’s review plea in Jessica case - Jessica

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it did not err in upholding the conviction as well as life sentence awarded to Manu Sharma aka Siddharth Vashisht, son of Congress leader and former Union minister Venod Sharma, for the murder of Jessica Lall 11 years ago.

A Bench comprising Justices P Sathasivam and Swatanter Kumar rejected Sharma’s plea for review of the SC’s April 19 judgment, which had held that the Delhi High Court was correct in concluding that he was the killer of Jessica and that he should serve a life sentence.
The petition seeking review of the apex court’s judgment also made a plea that the review petition be heard in open court and not in chambers, which is the practice at present in the Supreme Court. The Bench rejected this plea too before proceeding to deal with the merits of the review petition.
Only in very few cases, where the judges in chamber feel that there could be an error and it needed open court hearing, that the review petitions are listed and arguments by lawyers are heard in a court room.
After perusing the review petition, Justices Sathasivam and Kumar did not find any new ground, other than those already pleaded in the appeal and advanced by senior advocate Ram Jethmalani during the arguments. It went on to pass a terse order — “No ground made out to review the April 19 judgment” — and dismissed Sharma’s review petition.With the rejection of his review plea, Sharma is now left with only a curative petition to request the SC to have a relook at the April 19 judgment. Given the negligible success of curative petitions which too mostly get decided in the chamber, there is little hope for Sharma to get any relief from the Supreme Court in regard to his conviction and sentence.
On April 19, the same Bench had held Sharma guilty of pulling the trigger and firing shots at Jessica after a row over a drink on the night of April 29-30, 1999 and said he be jailed for the rest of his life for the cold blooded crime.
The SC had said there was little doubt that Manu fired from his Italian make .22 P.Baretta pistol, first at the roof and then at the right temple of Jessica Lall after she and Malini Ramani tried to make him understand that “the party at Tamarind Court restaurant was over and there was no liquor available with them”.
In a sharp 239-page judgment, the apex court cut through the smoke screen created by ace criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani and held: “The evidence regarding the actual incident, the testimonies of witnesses, the evidence connecting the vehicles and cartridges to the accused Manu Sharma, as well his conduct after the incident prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.”

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