The Delhi High Court on Friday directed authorities to immediately release former youth Congress leader Sushil Sharma, who is serving a life sentence for killing his wife Naina Sahni in 1995, ANI reported. The case was known as the “tandoor” case because Sharma was accused of chopping his wife’s body into pieces and trying to burn it in a restaurant oven, or “tandoor”.
Sharma, now 56, had shot dead his wife in 1995 over an alleged relationship with a male friend. He has been in jail since then. A Delhi court had in 2003 awarded him death sentence, which was upheld by the Delhi High Court in 2007. In 2013, the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence, saying there was “no evidence” of Sharma chopping up his wife’s body.
In a meeting on October 4, the sentence review board had ordered the release of 22 convicts but rejected Sharma’s case, reported the Hindustan Times. Sharma then filed a petition seeking release on the grounds that he had been jailed for 29 years, and his continued imprisonment was illegal. The period of 29 years includes the period of remission. Without taking the period of remission into account, he has been in jail for 23 years and six months.
Sharma’s counsel had said that the convict had already served the maximum prescribed sentence. Life convicts who commit heinous crimes can be granted relief after 25 years, his counsel said. Sharma also said his conduct in prison and while out on parole had been “exemplary”, PTI reported. He said his parents were over 80 years old and there was no one to look after them.
Hearing the petition on Tuesday, a bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal had said they were concerned about Sharma’s human rights and called the issue “very serious”, PTI reported. The court asked whether a person should be kept imprisoned indefinitely for murder even if he has already served the sentence. The bench said if a convict were to be kept in jail indefinitely, no one would ever be released after committing a murder.