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SC refuses to entertain clemency plea for Rajoana

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to pass any order on a plea for clemency to Balwant Singh Rajoana, awarded death penalty for assassination of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh.

A bench of justices T.S. Thakur and Gyan Sudha Misra said it cannot pass any direction as the convict has not filed any petition before it and the petitioner Abhinav Ramakrishna has no locus standi to plead on his behalf.

The apex court also allowed an NGO, Lawyers for Human Rights International, to withdraw its petition filed with a similar plea.

The bench told Abhinav Ramakrishna, an advocate, that since petition was filed under Article 32, it cannot be entertained as in no way, any fundamental right of the petitioner was violated.

In other words, the bench said, Article 32 provision could be invoked only by a person whose fundamental right is violated.

The NGO had contended in its petition that Rajoana was not properly represented during the trial of the case and he had also not filed any appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against his conviction and capital punishment awarded by the trial court.

The NGO was seeking stay on the execution of Babbar Khalsa militant Rajoana’s death penalty, which was slated for March 31 but has already been stayed by the Centre. Rajoana is presently lodged in Patiala Central Jail.

The NGO had challenged the March 22 order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court which had dismissed a PIL against the lower court’s order convicting Rajoana and awarding death penalty to him.

It had said the decision in the case has not attained finality as the CBI has challenged in the apex court the commuting of death sentence to life term of co-accused Jagtar Singh Hawara.

“That it is submitted that the judgement by which the death sentence has been confirmed, is under appeal before the Supreme Court at the instance of the CBI.

“The special leave has been granted in an appeal against the conviction of Hawara. So the decision has not attained finality, therefore, the death sentence can not be executed,” the NGO had said in its petition.

Rajoana, a police constable and a close friend of another assassin Dilawar Singh Babbar, was the second human bomb to be used, in case the first one failed to kill Beant Singh on August 31, 1995.

The special CBI court had awarded death sentence to Rajoana and Jagtar Singh Hawara on August 1, 2007. Other co-accused Lakhwinder Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Shamsher Singh were sentenced to life imprisonment for hatching conspiracy to kill Beant Singh.

Rajoana did not appeal against the judgement. The death penalty of Hawara, who filed an appeal against it, was commuted to life term.


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