Former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh's Assassination Case: SC To Take Up Convict Rajoana's Plea For Commuting Death Sentence On 1 November
The Chief Justice of India, U U Lalit, observed that the case can be considered in two ways — either execution of sentence or commutation.
A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India U U Lalit has resolved to take up death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana's plea to commute his death penalty into a life sentence.
The bench has also asked the Centre to provide its stand on the mercy plea in the former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh's assassination case. Rajoana is a convict in the same.
Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Rajoana submitted that, “My client has been in jail for 26 years. I want to argue that my client is worthy of getting life sentence commuted today itself. The first reason your lordships mentioned, is false - the letter by MHA. It is now 2022, 10 years. He has been on death row since 2007. I don't want to beg them. This affidavit is nothing worth the paper it is written on. He was accused of crime of a spy. You may hear my case today or tomorrow and be done with it.”
Chief Justice Lalit, after hearing the arguments stated that there can be two ways to look at the problem, either execution of sentence or commutation.
However, it said that the matter of Rajoana’s co-accused is pending, therefore both the matters can be listed on the same day.
The Centre had two objections to the mercy petition.
First, that the petition cannot be considered as it has been filed by another organisation and not the convict, and second, that the mercy cannot be granted until the appeals filed by other convicts in the case before the Supreme Court are not disposed.
Rajoana is a former constable in the Punjab Police and a pro-Khalistan militant. He is currently lodged in Patiala Central jail, awaiting the decision on the commutation of death sentence by the government of India.
He was given capital punishment for the murder of Beant Singh.
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