Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rape convict Dharampal not to be hanged till may 6

Express news service : Chandigarh | Wed Apr 10 2013 The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday extended stay on the execution of rape-murder convict Dharampal till May 6. He was to be hanged on April 15.

Stating that he was already acquitted by the High Court in the rape case on the basis of which he was given death sentence by the Supreme Court, Dharampal today demanded commutation of his death sentence.

In an interim relief for Dharampal, the High Court on April 7 had stayed his execution till April 10. This came a day after Haryana DGP (Prison) Sharad Kumar said that Dharampal would be executed on April 15 in Ambala jail, where he has been shifted from Rohtak.

Though jail authorities had said that Dharampal would be hanged on April 15, apprehending an early hanging, his counsel Advocate Navkiran Singh had moved the high court. Saturday being a holiday, a special request was made before the Chief Justice, who asked two high court judges to hold a special division bench.

During the hearing of the case, Singh had referred to a Supreme Court judgment, which had held that a condemned prisoner has the right to demand commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment if there has been a substantial delay in adjudication of his mercy petition.

Singh had added that if the competent authority, the President, causes delay in deciding the mercy petition of a convict, the latter should not be harassed further and should be given life imprisonment. The delay, he had added, is counted from the day the Supreme Court dismisses the appeal of a convict and orders his hanging. In Dharampal’s case, his hanging was upheld 14 years ago.

Following this, the court had asked the DGP (Prisons) to respond to Dharampal’s petition by April 10.

In 1991, Dharampal was sentenced to 10-year imprisonment for raping a girl in Sonepat. After his release on parole in 1993, Dharampal along with his brother, Nirmal, murdered the girl, her father, mother and two brothers when they were sleeping at their house.

Dharmapal and Nirmal were sentenced to death by a Sessions Court on May 5, 1997 and it was retained by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on September 29, 1998. However, the Supreme Court converted Nirmal’s death penalty to life imprisonment but Dharampal’s death sentence was retained.

His mercy petition was rejected by the Union Home Minister in 2000. Later, Dharampal filed a mercy plea to the President in 2005, which was rejected after about eight years.

Navkiran had also referred to a case filed by terrorist Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, who had moved the Supreme Court demanding that his death sentence be converted to life since there has been delay in adjudication of his mercy petition. The case stands reserved for final orders by the Supreme Court.

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