After reading down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code recently and decriminalizing gay sex, it was now Delhi High Court's turn to lend clarity to another Section 377—this time of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)—in context of the Nitish Katara murder case.
The court was adjudicating on a dispute between convicts Vikas Yadav and Vishal Yadav and the Delhi state as to who was competent to file an appeal seeking enhancement of their punishment from life sentence to death—Delhi or UP Police?
Such a plea is filed by the state under Section 377 of the CrPC. A Bench of justices B.D. Ahmed and P.K. Bhasin decisively ruled Delhi was the prosecuting state.
"The legal position is once a case is transferred by the SC from one state to another, the transferor state no longer retains control over the prosecution to be conducted in a court situated in the transferee state," said the judges.
The SC had transferred the case from Ghaziabad to Delhi.
Vikas Yadav's lawyer Sumeet Verma contended Delhi police's appeal seeking death was not maintainable as the prosecuting state was Uttar Pradesh.
24 year-old Nitish Katara was kidnapped from a wedding party in Ghaziabad on the intervening night of February 16 and 17, 2002 and his body found days later.
The convicts argued the case was first being tried in a Ghaziabad court till it was transferred to a Delhi Sessions Court.
It was on a plea by the victim's mother Neelam Katara that the influential accused (Vikas is the son of a former MP) might subvert the trial in Uttar Pradesh.
The convicts argued the transfer did not result in the change of prosecuting state and it continued to be UP.