15th August, 2021 – Case Analysis: Sidhartha Vashisht @ Manu Sharma Versus State (NCT of Delhi) by Vasu @LEXCLIQ


Justice in high-level cases like this leads us to believe that our justice system does not discriminate between powerful and ordinary people, and that there will always be more victories than good. The case is even more critical in terms of the multiplicity of the involvement of the mainstream media and social media in creating justice for the rich and powerful. It is often believed that News channels are not interested in showing news but are interested in making comments and sometimes making false news. But not with this case, this was the beginning of a media case in the country and it makes it hard to believe that the case would have been completed the way it did if it had not been for media involvement.


Background of the Case

 On a fateful night intervening 29th and 30th April 1999, Jessica Lal was shot and killed in a ‘Thursday Party’ in a restaurant named ‘Tamarind Cafe’. The party with over 300 people, the majority of which claiming to be completely unaware of the happening. When acquitted by the Additional session judge’s court, the media intervened in quite a manner no other case experienced before. As a result, the case was taken up by the High Court, when the case was heard by the High court, it reversed the previous judgment. This was further challenged in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.



  • On the night of the 29thApril 1999 and 30th April 1999 at 2:20 AM, a telephonic communication was made to the Police station Mehrauli, informing that someone in white shirt and jeans had shot someone.
  • A diary entry was made at the police station and Sub-inspector (SI) Sharad Kumar and Constable Meenu Mathew left for the crime spot. After sometime, the Sub-inspector (SI) Sunil Kumar along with constable Subhash left for the crime spot.
  • When the police reached the crime spot, they were informed that the injured was removed to Ashlok Hospital, SI Sunil Kumar left for the hospital with constable Subhash.
  • At the hospital SI Sunil met Beena Ramani (owner of the restaurant) and questioned her on the incident. She directed the officers to talk to Shyam Munshi saying that he knew everything about the incident that occurred
  • The statement of Shyam Munshi was recorded and an endorsement was made of the same for the registration of FIR. At 30thApril 1999, 4 AM, FIR at Police Station Mehrauli was registered.
  • In the meanwhile, Jessica Lal had been shifted to Apollo Hospital. Afterwards, SI Sunil came back to the crime spot where he was informed about the lifting of the black safari from the spot. Two empty cartridges were seized and a supplementary statement was made by Shyam Munshi.
  • On 30thApril 1999, 5:45 AM, information was received that the injured Jessica Lal died at Apollo Hospital.
  • Charges were changed from section 307 to section 302 IPC/201/120B IPC and under section 27 of the Arms Act against Manu Sharma (accused), charges under section 201/120B IPC against Vikas Yadav, Tony Gill and Alok Khanna and charges under section 212 IPC were charged against Havinder Chopra, Raja Chopra, Ruby Gill and Yograj Singh, hence the trial commenced.
  • All the Nine accused were acquitted by the trial court’s session Judge including Manu Sharma, which was challenged by the prosecution by appeal before the high court.
  • The High Court dismissed the impugned order of the trial court of acquittal and convicted and all the Nine accused of the case.
  • An appeal was made by the accused before the present court, hence this case.



  • Section 302 and section 201 read with section 120B of the Indian Penal Code, 1973
  • Section 27 of the Arms Act, 1959
  • Section 212 of the Indian Penal Code, 1973



  • Section 302 and 201 read with 120B of IPC defines the offence of murder and casuing disapperence of evidences or providing false information read with criminal conspiracy.
  • Section 27 Arms Act defines punishment for using guns.
  • Section 212 of IPC defines the punishment for offences of harbouring or concealing any person who knows or has a reason to believe to be an offender.



The arguments presented on behalf of the appellant were his fundamental right to free and fair trial, guaranteed under Art. 21 of the Constitution of India, was weakened during an appeal by the Supreme Court against the order of the first court case and that two witnesses were held and pressured to support the prosecution case by registering FIR against them.

The plaintiff’s side submitted that the FIR recorded in Mr. Shyam Munshi’s statement is not a FIR but a written statement. There were many visual errors made by the Supreme Court in a ballistic report from the CFSL, errors in distrust of P.S. Manocha, that witness Shravan Kumar is a planted witness.



The respondent side submitted that the order of Acquittal of all the accused delivered by the trial court was a commission of error and as being the appellate judiciary, the High Court was fully justified in re-analysing all the evidence and witnesses and convicting all the Nine accused, including Manu Sharma, with the fitting sentences.

The respondent side further submitted the documentary evidence and other legal principles stating that the conviction and sentence awarded by the High Court are agreed by the respondents and prayed that no changes or interference should be done by this court, and dismissal of the appeals of the accuseds.



The Supreme Court held that the appellate court had all the requisite power to re-evaluate all the evidence that was presented in the Court of Trial and reconsider the order of acquittal passed by the Court of Trial and justifying the action of reversing the order acquittal with adequate reasoning.

The Court stated that the prosecution of the case did establish the charges against Manu sharma and Eight other accused beyond doubt, and that the Supreme court is in agreement with the decision of the first court and reversed the order of acquittal into one of conviction.

The Supreme Court stated that all the appeals were devoid of every merit and were dismissed.

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