The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to grant relief to Manu Sharma, who has been convicted in the Jessica Lall murder case, on his plea seeking early release from prison. He has served 20 years of his life term.
The court directed the Sentence Review Board to consider the plea at its next meeting in March, ANI reported.
Sharma, son of former Haryana minister Venod Sharma, had shot Lall dead on April 30, 1999, after she refused to serve him liquor at a Delhi restaurant. Lall was a model who was working as a celebrity barmaid at a party. The High Court had overturned a trial court’s order and sentenced Manu Sharma to life imprisonment in December 2006. The Supreme Court had upheld the verdict in April 2010.
Manu Sharma, 43, in his plea said that he had served 15 years in prison without remission and over 20 years with remission and, therefore, was eligible for premature release. Remission is a period of parole granted to a convict based on his conduct in jail. The time is added to the sentence served by a prisoner in jail. Sharma had been granted parole from December 10 to December 15, 2015, to enable him to appear for the first semester exams of the legal course he was taking.
Sharma’s petition claimed that in October last year, the Sentence Review Board had refused to grant him relief “without giving any cogent reasons”, despite his having fulfilled all the conditions to be eligible for release. The plea asked the court to set aside the board’s recommendation as well as a Delhi government order in December that upheld the board’s view.
The board had “acted in a biased, unfair and illegal manner” in rejecting his request, Sharma’s plea claimed, pointing out that reports from several authorities, including prison, the police and the social welfare department of the Delhi government, had recommended that he be released early.