The Delhi High Court Monday suspended for 12 weeks the life imprisonment sentence awarded to one of the convicts in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case as he was suffering from chronic kidney ailment and was highly vulnerable to a contagious disease like COVID-19.
A bench of Justices Manmohan and Sanjeev Narula, noted, while conducted the hearing through video conferencing, that Naresh Sehrawat was admitted to the medicine ward of the Central Jail Hospital, Tihar.
"Since the petitioner (Sehrawat) is a chronic kidney disease, stage-IV patient and is admitted in the medicine ward of the Central Jail hospital and is highly vulnerable to a contagious disease like COVID-19, the sentence of the appellant-convict is suspended for a period of twelve weeks from the date of release subject to his furnishing a personal bond and local/close relative surety bond of Rs 20,000 each to the satisfaction of the trial court," the bench said.
The court passed the order on a plea by Sehrawat, who is serving life imprisonment in the riots case, seeking interim suspension of sentence for three months on the ground that he needs to undergo liver and kidney transplant simultaneously and at the earliest.
The court had earlier directed the jail authorities to take him to Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) Hospital for medical check up as he has to undergo liver and kidney transplant.
Sehrawat's counsel submitted that he was being repeatedly referred to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital as well as Central Jail hospital even though the DDU and RML hospitals have already stated that facilities for transjugular renal transplant are not available with them.
Senior advocate RS Cheema and lawyer Tarannum Cheema, representing the Special Investigation Team (SIT), said the convict was being looked after and treated compassionately in the jail hospital and that he was being kept isolated and protected.
An SIT was earlier set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs to reinvestigate the riot cases.
The trial court had awarded death penalty to convict Yashpal Singh and life term to Naresh Sehrawat in the case relating to the killing of two men in New Delhi during the 1984 riots -- the first convictions in the cases reopened by the SIT.
Sherawat has also appealed against his conviction and the sentence before the high court which is pending.
The death reference as well as appeal of Singh against the capital punishment awarded to him is also pending in the high court.