Thursday, December 20, 2018

Death row: High Court seeks records of mercy petitions (Punjab)

TNN | Oct 8, 2016, 07.26 AM IST 

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court has sought official records to know why the mercy petitions of two murder convicts have been rejected since they were awarded the capital punishment by a Hoshiarpur court on December 21, 2006. Taking up a petition on Friday, Justice Rameshwar Malik of the HC ordered officials of the Punjab government to produce the entire record pertaining to the case, including the grounds on which the mercy petitions of Hoshiarpur residents Jasbir Singh alias Jassa and Vikram Singh alias Vicky were rejected. Jassa and Vicky are scheduled to be hanged on October 25 this year. HC has also issued notices to Punjab home secretary, DGP (prisons) and the superintendent of central jail, Patiala, seeking their replies on the contentions raised by the convicts. 

The next hearing of the case has been fixed for October 17. Both the accused and third accomplice, Sonia, had abducted and killed Abhi, a Hoshiarpur-based goldsmith's son, for ransom in February 2005. The three were sentenced to death by a Hoshiarpur court on December 21, 2006. The high court had confirmed the death sentences on May 30, 2008. On January 25, 2010, the SC had also upheld the death sentence awarded to Vikram and Jasvir, but commuted Sonia's punishment to life imprisonment. Seeking a stay on their execution, their counsel Gursharan Kaur Mann has argued that the two men, who are lodged in Patiala central jail at present, had been confined to solitary confinement inside the prison for more than 10 years and the Punjab government was working in a hasty manner to hang them any time. 

The counsel cited several judgements in which the Supreme Court had accepted delay as a ground for conversion of death sentence into life imprisonment. She also cited Devinderpal Singh Bhullar's case in which his death sentence was converted into life. According to the counsel, there has been a delay of around seven years in the execution of Jasbir and Vikram after the SC had upheld their conviction in this case. Their mercy petition filed before the governor of Punjab was dismissed on January 22 this year. On August 11, the President had also turned down their plea against execution. Following the rejection of their mercy petitions, the Hoshiarpur court had recently issued death warrants for their execution on October 25.

Source: (Accessed 20 December 2018)

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