Nitish Katara murder: Trial judges erred in law while convicting Yadav cousins, says Delhi HC

 Lambasting trial courts for not examining circumstances in totality to arrive at an appropriate punishment for killers of Nitish Katara, Delhi High Court on Friday said the trial judges have overlooked well- settled principles and erred in law.

PTI| Updated: Feb 06, 2015, 23:24 PM IST

New Delhi: Lambasting trial courts for not examining circumstances in totality to arrive at an appropriate punishment for killers of Nitish Katara, Delhi High Court on Friday said the trial judges have overlooked well- settled principles and erred in law.

A special bench of justices Gita Mittal and J R Midha said just because the conviction rested on circumstantial evidence was not a sufficient ground for not imposing the death sentence and the trial judges have "misdirected" themselves.

"We find that the trial judges have considered each of the circumstances pointed out by the defence singularly and not examined these circumstances cumulatively to impose an appropriate sentence. This is contrary to law.

"The trial judges have also not considered the aspect of remorse and repentance which was completely lacking on the part of the defendants in the present case. Both the trial judges have overlooked these well-settled principles and erred in law," the bench said.

Vikas and Vishal Yadav were found guilty by the trial Court and awarded life sentence on 30 May 2008.

Third convict Sukhdev Pehalwan, who was absconding for three years after the crime, was separately tried and sentenced to life by a Delhi another trial court judge on July 12, 2011.

The High Court said medical evidence revealed that only a single injury resulted in death of Nitish and this fact was taken as a "mitigating circumstance" by the trial judges, is completely unacceptable.

"The fact that the three defendants were able to achieve what they wanted with the single injury cannot be considered a mitigating circumstance by any measure but must count as an aggravating circumstance. The trial judges have completely ignored the relevant and material fact that the blow was deliberate and premeditated and carefully inflicted on the vital part of the body.

"The surrounding facts and circumstances of this case have also not been considered. The single blow has been dealt with in isolation and treated as a mitigating circumstance which is contrary to law and erroneous in the facts and circumstances of this case," the bench said.