Latest News:

Special News

Suspicions surrounds Rajoana’s execution as Indian President reportedly decides all pending death review petitions

April 4, 2013 | By

New Delhi/ Patiala, India/Punjab (April 04, 2013): According to certain media reports the President of India has cleared all the cases of constitutional review petitions against death sentences awarded to various convicts by Indian courts. As the reports did not carry any details as regards the persons whose petitions have been disposed off by the President of India, there is a lot of confusion in this matter.

According to Times of India (TOI): “Speculation mounted on Wednesday about the fate of nine people convicted for heinous crimes amid indications that President Pranab Mukherjee had upheld execution in five cases while commuting death sentence to life term in two others”.

“However, the details of individual cases could not be ascertained” TOI has reported further.

“Sources say no more mercy files are pending to be cleared by the President”, One India has reported.

According to information the India’s Ministry of Home affairs had recommended rejection of constitutional review pleas in five cases and left two cases open for commutation of death sentence to life imprisonment with a rider that the life term should mean jail for the entire life of the convict and not just 20 years or 14 years in prison.

According to Times of India (TOI)” [t]hough the case-wise recommendation for convicts was not known as both the home ministry and President House did not reply to repeated questions”.

It is notable that on March 06, 2013 the Rajya Sabha, upper house of the Indian Parliament, was informed that constitutional review petitions of nine death row prisoners, including Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana, were then pending before the President of India.

Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran had said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on March 06, 2013 that “Presently 9 petition cases of prisoners on death row are pending under Article 72 of the Constitution of India”.

Nine persons whose petitions against death sentences were then reportedly pending before President of India are Dharam Pal (Haryana, since 1999), Praveen Kumar (Karnataka, 2004), Jafar Ali (Uttar Pradesh, 2006), Sonia and Sanjeev (Haryana, 2007), Sunder Singh (Uttarakhand, 2011), Shivu and Jadeswamy (Karnataka, 2013), B A Umesh (Karnataka, 2012), Balwant Singh Rajoana (Chandigarh, 2012) and Maganlal (Madhya Pradesh, 2012).

It is notable that the recent media reports did not mention anything regarding Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana’s case.

As it has been reported that no more constitutional review petition lags behind with the President of India, there is scope to assume that President of India may have decided Rajoana’s review petition also.

It is notable that there were rumors in recent days that Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana was being shifted to Tihar Jail in Delhi for execution. Though the rumors were later rejected by the Jail authorities and Punjab police, but the repeated emergence of these rumors were a matter of concern for the Sikhs who fear that Rajoana could be hanged by Indian state in secrecy.

Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana (quote from Will)

Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana (quote from Will)

It is notable that Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana was sentenced to death by an Indian court for his involvement in assassination of Punjab’s Chief Minister Beant Singh on August 31, 1995. Bhai Rajoana had admitted his participation to the assassination of CM Beant Singh. In his hand-written letters submitted in the court from time to time, he refused to contest his case in Indian courts expressing no faith in Indian state system or the Indian judiciary. In his letters he made it clear that while planning and executing the assassination of Beant Singh, they had acted out of existential concerns, as Sikhs were facing facing existential crisis during Beant Singh’s regime that was indulged in committing mass level atrocities on civilian Sikh population.

Bhai Balwant Singh even refused to appeal against the death sentence awarded by Indian court. In March 2012 a Chandigarh court issued his death warrants for March 31, 2012. But before the date of execution a constitutional review petition was field by Shiroamani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) before President of India under Article 72 of the Indian Constitution. As a matter of procedure the execution of death sentence was indeterminately postponed.

It is notable that on November 21, 2012 Indian terminated about eight years long de-facto moratorium on death penalty by Hanging Azmal Kasab for his involvement in 26/11 Mumbai attacks. This was followed by hanging of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri who was convicted in 2001 attack on Indian parliament. Both were hanged in secrecy by Indian state. India’s President had rejected their review petitions but the fact of rejection of petitions was released only after their executions. The body of Afzal Guru was also buried in Tihar Jail Delhi as the government had cited jail rules as reason for refusal to hand over his body to the family for last rites.

There are apprehensions that India may hang Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana in secrecy. Common impression is that in order to avoid mass-protests in Punjab as the aftermath of the suspected/proposed execution Indian government may transfer Rajoana to Delhi’s Tihar Jail for execution.

To Get Sikh Siyasat News Alerts via WhatsApp:

(1) Save Our WhatsApp Number 0091-855-606-7689 to your phone contacts; and
(2) Send us Your Name via WhatsApp. Click Here to Send WhatsApp Message Now.

Sikh Siyasat is on Telegram Now. Subscribe to our Telegram Channel

Related Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply