The Batla House Encounter: Delhi High Court Refuses to Confirm Death Penalty for Ariz Khan
In a recent development, the Delhi High Court has addressed the case of Ariz Khan, who was convicted of the killing of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma during the 2008 Batla House encounter. The court has upheld Khan’s conviction under the Indian Penal Code and Arms Act, but it has reduced the death sentence awarded by the trial court to life imprisonment.
The Court’s Decision
A bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Amit Sharma delivered the verdict, stating that while the judgment of conviction stands, the imposition of the death penalty is not confirmed. The trial court had previously categorized Khan’s offense as “rarest of rare,” justifying the death penalty. However, the high court has modified this order, partially allowing Khan’s appeal.
Background of the Case
Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, a member of the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, was killed during the Batla House encounter on September 19, 2008. This incident occurred six days after a series of bombings in the national capital that resulted in the death of at least 30 people and left over 100 others injured. Acting on a tip-off, the police team, including Inspector Sharma, had conducted a raid on a flat in the Batla House locality.
Ariz Khan, who had evaded capture after the encounter, was declared a proclaimed offender in 2009. He was eventually arrested on February 14, 2018. Khan was subsequently convicted by the trial court on March 8, 2021, and sentenced to death on March 15 of the same year.
In addition to the death penalty, the trial court had also imposed a fine of ₹11 lakh on Khan, with ₹10 lakh of that amount designated for immediate release to the deceased officer’s family. The court had strongly condemned Khan’s actions, referring to them as “despicable” and deeming him an “enemy of the state.”
Shahzad Ahmed’s Conviction
Shahzad Ahmed, another individual convicted in the same case, was arrested on January 1, 2010. In July 2013, Ahmed was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. He appealed against this verdict in the high court, but as of now, the appeal is still pending. Tragically, Shahzad Ahmed passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in January of the current year, following a hospitalization that lasted over two weeks.
Overview of the Batla House Encounter
The Batla House encounter occurred in the Okhla area of New Delhi, resulting in the tragic death of Inspector Sharma and injuries to two other officers. Ariz Khan, a native of Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh, is believed to be the mastermind behind the 2008 serial bombings across Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh. These bombings claimed the lives of 165 people and left 500 others injured.
The encounter unfolded six days after the series of bombings when a raiding team from the Delhi Police special cell confronted suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives at L-18 Batla House in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar. During the encounter, Khan, Shahzad, and Junaid managed to escape after Inspector Sharma lost his life. Two suspected terrorists, Atif Amin and Mohammed Sajid, were killed in the shootout, while another suspected IM operative, Mohd Saif, surrendered.
Title: State v. Ariz Khan
Click here to download the order pdf
frequently asked questions
What is the Batla House Encounter?
The Batla House Encounter took place on September 19, 2008, in the Batla House locality of Delhi’s Jamia Nagar. It was a police operation conducted by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police in response to the 2008 serial bombings in Delhi and other parts of India.
What was the recent decision by the Delhi High Court regarding Ariz Khan’s conviction and sentence?
The Delhi High Court upheld Ariz Khan’s conviction under the Indian Penal Code and Arms Act but reduced his sentence from death to life imprisonment. The court partially allowed Khan’s appeal, modifying the trial court’s decision.
What was the background of the 2008 serial bombings that led to the Batla House Encounter?
In 2008, a series of bombings occurred in Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh, resulting in the deaths of 165 people and injuries to 500 others. Ariz Khan is believed to be the mastermind behind these attacks.