The Delhi High Court Monday said it will commence hearing on March 21 to examine the trial court verdict awarding death sentence to Ariz Khan for the murder of decorated Delhi Police Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma in connection with the sensational 2008 Batla House encounter case.
When a trial court sentences any person to the death penalty in a case, its judgement is examined by the high court through hearing arguments for confirmation of the death sentence.The case documents and trial court judgement reach as death reference to the high court from the trial court.
A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anoop Kumar Mendiratta said notice be also sent to the convict informing him about the death reference proceedings.
The court also directed the registry to provide the trial court records of the case and a copy of the death reference to the prosecutor, representing the state, as expeditiously as possible.
In July 2021, Ariz Khan had filed an appeal against the trial court verdict which said the offence fell under the “rarest of the rare category” warranting the maximum sentence and he be “hanged by neck” till death.
Inspector Sharma of the Delhi Police’s special cell was killed during the 2008 Batla House encounter between the police and the terrorists in Jamia Nagar in south Delhi following serial bomb blasts in the national capital in which 39 people died and 159 were injured.
The appeal was filed by Ariz Khan through advocates M S Khan and Quasar Khan.
The trial court had on March 8, 2021, convicted Ariz Khan saying that it was duly proved that he and his associates murdered the police official and fired gunshots at him.
The trial court, on March 15, 2021, had sentenced Ariz Khan to capital punishment and also imposed a fine of Rs 11 lakh on him, making it clear that Rs 10 lakh should be immediately released to the family members of Sharma.
It had termed the act of Ariz of firing on police party without any provocation as abhorrent and brutal and said this itself showed that he was not only a threat to the society but was also an enemy of the State.
The trial court, which had said that the convict on account of his despicable act has forfeited his right to live, held that the offence proved against Ariz was not an ordinary act but a crime against the State and while committing the offence, he acted like a “dreaded and well-trained terrorist” who does not deserve any leniency.
A trial court had sentenced Indian Mujahideen terrorist Shahzad Ahmed in July 2013 to life imprisonment in connection with the case. His appeal against the verdict has been pending in the high court.
Ariz Khan had fled from the spot and was declared a proclaimed offender. He was arrested on February 14, 2018, and faced trial.
The trial court had said it has been proved on record that Ariz Khan after the shootout managed to escape and run away from the spot and eluded investigating agencies for almost 10 years despite a coercive process against him.
“Involvement of convict in various blast cases not only in Delhi but also in Jaipur, Ahmedabad, and UP, in which hundreds of innocent people were killed and injured, further demonstrates that the convict continues to be a threat to the society and the nation,” it had added.
The court had said deadly weapons like AK-47 and two pistols were retrieved from the flat where the shootout took place and considering the nature of devastation that these weapons can cause, it would be safe to conclude that these weapons were kept to indulge in terrorist and anti-social activities.
He was further sentenced to life imprisonment for the offence of an attempt to murder.
The court had also sentenced him to three years imprisonment for voluntarily obstructing police from discharging their duty, 10 years rigorous imprisonment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt to police officials, rigorous imprisonment for two years for assault of public servant, and three years imprisonment for the offence under section 27 (using arms) of Arms Act.