Supreme Court to examine HC power to stay execution

: The Supreme Court on Thursday decided to examine the Chhattisgarh government's contention that the Delhi High Court has no jurisdiction to entertain a plea of a death row convict, who has committed the crime in the State, only on the grounds that his mercy petition was rejected by the President who sits in the national Capital. The apex court asked the Chhattisgarh government to file an appeal against the December 6 order of the Delhi High Court by which it had said the rejection of mercy petition by the President “does give rise to a cause of action at Delhi”.

The High Court order was passed on the State government's petition seeking transfer of the case from Delhi to Chhattisgarh High Court.


The apex court was extremely critical of the Delhi High Court order and questioned its jurisdiction, saying that the offence was committed in Chhattisgarh.

The Bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra referred to a five-judge Bench verdict penned by him as the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court in 2011 dealing with jurisdictional aspect of the High Court and said that it should hold itself back in such matters. “How come Delhi High Court has the jurisdiction? If that is the case then Bombay, Gujarat and Calcutta High Courts will not have any matter because the President sits in Delhi. Then other High Courts will have nothing to do,” it said.

Transfer petition

The court was dealing with the transfer petition of the Chhattisgarh government which alleged that the Delhi High Court had no jurisdiction to stay the execution of a convict, Sonu Sardar, held guilty of murder of five persons including two children, in 2004 in its territory.

The Bench, also comprising Justice Amitava Roy, asked the Chhattisgarh government to file an appeal against the Delhi High Court’s December 6 order in the case and sought the assistance of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi during the hearing.

“There has to be 'forum conveniens' (convenient forum or venue) and Delhi High Court should hold back in such matters,” it said.

The court was also critical of the fact that a two-judge Bench of the Delhi High Court, in its December 6 order, relied upon the judgment of a smaller Bench when the five-judge Bench had already settled the jurisdictional issue in 2011. —PTI

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 3:48:55 PM |

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