Batla House Encounter: HC refuses to confirm death penalty to Ariz Khan, awards life term

 The Delhi High Court on Thursday commuted to life term the death penalty awarded to Ariz Khan following his conviction in the sensational 2008 Batla House encounter in which decorated Delhi Police Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma lost his life.

A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Amit Sharma upheld a trial court order convicting Khan of the murder of the police official but refused to confirm the capital punishment.

The detailed copy of the court’s order is awaited.

The bench had reserved its judgement on the issue in August after the lawyers for the convict and the State concluded their submissions.

Sharma, an officer of the Delhi Police’s Special Cell, was killed in the encounter between police and terrorists in south Delhi’s Jamia Nagar on September 19, 2008. Two terrorists were also killed in the encounter that took place days after five synchronised bomb explosions rocked the national capital, killing 39 people and wounding 159.

Sharma had raided the place while looking for the terrorists responsible for the blasts.

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The trial court convicted Khan on March 8, 2021, saying it was duly proved that he and his associates killed the police official and fired gunshots at him. It said his offence fell under the “rarest of the rare category”, warranting the maximum sentence and that he be “hanged by the neck” till death.

On March 15, 2021, it sentenced Khan to capital punishment and also imposed a fine of Rs 11 lakh on him, making it clear that Rs 10 lakh should immediately be released to the family members of Sharma.

Subsequently, the high court received a reference for confirmation of Khan’s death sentence.

When a trial court sentences any person to death, its judgement is examined by the high court which needs to confirm the penalty before the culprit is executed.

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