Fourteen months after it declared that Balwant Singh Rajoana is not going to hold in former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh’s assassination case, the central authorities has revealed within the Supreme Court docket that the papers associated to the commuting of the sentence are but to be positioned earlier than the President of India.
Further solicitor normal KM Nataraj knowledgeable a prime court docket bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, that the file was but to be despatched by the Cupboard to the President for granting Rajoana pardon underneath Article 72 of the Structure, regardless of a advice of the ministry of dwelling affairs (MHA) to the impact in September 2019.
Article 72 empowers the President to grant pardons and problem different orders to droop or remit the remaining a part of the sentence of convicts.
Beant Singh and at the least 16 others had been killed in an explosion exterior the Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh in 1995. Rajoana was sentenced to demise in 2007 by a particular court docket.
Whereas he refused to file a mercy petition, Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex non secular physique of the Sikhs, filed a petition on his behalf earlier than the President in 2014.
The choice to commute his demise penalty was taken forward of the 550th start anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in 2019, however with the choice but to be applied, Rajoana moved the Supreme Court docketin September this yr, asking for readability.
Within the apex court docket, ASG Nataraj submitted: “No choice has gone to the President. The Cupboard has to ship the file to the President but it surely hasn’t occurred thus far.” He identified that appeals by among the different convicts within the former CM’s homicide case are nonetheless pending within the prime court docket.
Unconvinced by this submission, the bench stated that somebody within the authorities appears to be “extremely mistaken” that appeals by different convicts have something to do with Rajoana’s clemency.
“This petitioner has not filed an enchantment on this court docket. Your letter in September 2019 to the Punjab authorities says that commutation needs to be processed underneath Article 72 which has nothing to do with pendency of any enchantment. You reply a query in regulation. As soon as the central authorities has determined to commute the demise sentence, it needed to proceed,” the bench informed the regulation officer.
It emphasised deputy secretary within the MHA should have written to the Punjab authorities’s chief secretary concerning the choice to commute solely after such a choice was taken by somebody competent.
“Now we’re asking you why has this not been processed thus far? Your argument about pending appeals by others is untenable. When you have communicated to Punjab that you’ve commuted his sentence on Guru Nanak Jayanti, it means you may have already determined to do it,” added the court docket.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Rajoana, pressed for an early listening to for the reason that convict has been in jail for greater than 25 years now. The court docket accepted his request and glued the matter for a listening to within the first week of January.
Former SGPC president Bhai Gobind Singh Longowal and its honorary chief secretary Harjinder Singh, criticised the federal government for dragging its toes regardless of publicly asserting the choice to commute his demise sentence.
“SGPC has been repeatedly making requests to all authorities within the authorities to finish this injustice however nothing appears to be transferring whereas Rajoana’s sufferings delay. SGPC is offering the perfect authorized help to him and we hope the Supreme Court docket will come to his rescue,” they informed HT