The Delhi High Court today asked Santosh Kumar Singh, who is serving life term for rape and murder of law student Priyadarshini Mattoo in 1996, to file complete details of his education. The court noted that Singh has been pursuing the two-year LLM programme since 2012 and asked how long would he take to complete the course. “File a detailed affidavit explaining the studies he has done in his life and in which year. For how long his education will continue? Let us be clear about his education,” Justice Mukta Gupta said. Making it clear that it was not stopping him from studying, it listed the matter for hearing on May 21. The court was hearing Singh’s plea seeking parole to write the LLM exams, scheduled to start from May 22.
“For how long will your LLM go on? When this incident had happened, he had already completed LLB and was also pursuing some course in law at that time,” it observed. The convict’s advocate said Singh was doing LLM in two branches and has completed the course in one of them and pursuing it in the other. He also said that a person cannot be stopped from pursuing his studies. During the hearing, Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra opposed the parole plea, saying Singh was seeking parole to write the LLM exam and also attend the wedding of his brother-in-law in Bihar.
Earlier too, Singh had sought parole on the same grounds and asked how many times his brother-in-law will get married, the lawyer said, adding it has become a trend among the prisoners nowadays to enroll in courses to get out on parole. He said LLM was a two-year programme and the convict cannot be permitted to avail parole repeatedly to pursue the course. The court had earlier sought response of the state on Singh’s plea seeking the relief. 25-year old Mattoo was raped and murdered in January 1996. Singh, a law student in Delhi University, was acquitted by the trial court in the case on December 3, 1999, but the Delhi High Court had on October 27, 2006 reversed the decision, holding him guilty of rape and murder and awarded him death penalty. Singh, son of a former IPS officer, had challenged his conviction and death sentence awarded by the high court. In October 2010, the Supreme Court had upheld Singh’s conviction, but reduced the death sentence to life imprisonment.