Sunday, May 6, 2012

‘Lack of territorial jurisdiction’ cited for refusal to execute Rajoana’s death sentence.

Chandigarh, Sun May 06 2012, 00:22 hrs Lakhwinder Singh Jakhar, Superintendent, Central Jail, Patiala, who had been issued contempt notices by a local court for refusing to execute the death sentence of Balwant Singh Rajoana, has cited lack of territorial jurisdiction for refusing to execute the sentence. In his reply filed on April 25, Jakhar stated that he acted bona fide and without any contempt towards the court. He also said Rajoana could not be hanged at that stage, because the death sentence of his accomplice Jagtar Singh Hawara had been commuted to life imprisonment by the Punjab and Haryana High Court and his (Hawara) appeal was pending before the Supreme Court. A S Grewal, Additional Advocate General, Punjab, and counsel for the Jail Superintendent, said the Supreme Court judgement placed the onus on the Jail Superintendent to report such cases to higher authorities. The judgement avoided injustice where death sentences awarded to two accused for the same crime was commuted to life imprisonment for one and executed in the case of the other, he explained. Rajoana had earlier refused to file a mercy petition before the President of India, and his mercy petition was filed by the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee under Article 72 of the Constitution of India. The execution was stayed till the final order of the Apex Court in the appeals of his co-accused or till the order of the President of India, whichever was later. Rajoana was awarded death sentence by a CBI special court in July 2007, in the former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh assassination case. On March 19, Jakhar had received a communique from the court of Shalini Nagpal that Rajoana be executed on March 31. In his communique to the judge, Jakhar expressed his inability to execute the sentence on account of “legal infirmities in procedure”. The court had issued notice to Jakhar on March 27, asking him to explain why proceedings under the Contempt of Court Act should not be initiated against him. The case will now come up for hearing on June 6. Source: Indian Express See [accessed on 7th May 2012]

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