NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court Wednesday decided to hear March 2 a lawsuit challenging the Delhi High Court order that allowed both Delhi and Uttar Pradesh to contest the appeal of Vikas Yadav, convicted in the murder of Nitish Katara in 2002.
A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan decided to hear Nitish’s mother Neelam Katara’s plea after senior counsel Kamini Jaiswal appearing for her apprised the court of her plea and sought urgent hearing on it.
The bench, which also included Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly, said it would hear the appeal on March 2 as fixede by the court’s registry.
In her plea to the apex court, Neelam Katara said the Delhi High Court had erroneously recognised both Delhi and Uttar Pradesh as prosecuting states, which could contest Vikas Yadav’s appeal against his conviction and sentencing in Nitish Katara murder. Normal legal norms laid that only one state, where the criminal trial has been held, is recognised as the prosecuting state.
Katara said it cannot be ruled out that two prosecuting states may take opposite stands on a issue, harming the victim’s appeal.
Vikas Yadav, son of former lawmaker D.P. Yadav, and his cousin Vishal Yadav were convicted by a Delhi trial court for Nitish Katara’s murder and were sentenced to life imprisonment. Vikas and Vishal resented Nitish’s relationship with their sister Bharti.
Nitish was kidnapped and murdered after he attended a wedding in Ghaziabad Feb 16, 2002. His half-burnt body was found in a village in Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh.
The case was tried in Delhi on a plea by the Kataras, who had alleged that the politically influential Yadavs would not allow a free and fair trial anywhere in Uttar Pradesh.
After their conviction, Vikas and Vishal first moved the Allahabad High Court in July 2008, challenging their conviction and life sentence.
But the Allahabad High Court dismissed their appeals, saying that they had been tried in the state of Delhi and accordingly the Delhi High Court has the jurisdiction to hear their appeals.
But challenging their conviction before the Delhi High Court, the Yadavs named Uttar Pradesh as the prosecuting state instead of Delhi though the Delhi government as well as Neelam Katara moved the Delhi High Court, seeking death penalty for them.