A decade after Balwant Singh Rajoana was sentenced to death by a Sessions Court for his role in former Chief Minister Beant Singh’s assassination, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today dismissed a petition filed by his sister, Kamaldeep Kaur. She had sought commuting of the sentence to life imprisonment and his release.
Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain observed that Kamaldeep had no locus standi to file such a plea on Rajoana’s behalf. The detailed judgment was not yet available.Kamaldeep’s counsel Gursharan Kaur Mann had on the previous date of hearing addressed the court on the issue of locus — the right or capacity to bring an action or to appear in a court.
The petitioner had claimed that Rajoana had been languishing in prison for the past 22 years. Almost a decade had passed since the death sentence was pronounced and seven years since it was confirmed.
Mann said the petitioner believed that Rajoana had experienced immense suffering due to the delay in carrying out the sentence. “This extraordinary and unjustified delay in the carrying out of his death sentence has also caused physical and mental agony to the petitioner and her family,” the counsel added.
Mann argued that Rajoana had refused to seek legal representation during the trial. He had not filed an appeal against his death sentence, which was confirmed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on October 12, 2010. He had also not filed a Special Leave Petition against the HC judgment.
Mann said Rajoana had spent almost 21 years and 10 months in prison, including about 10 years and two months on death row. No action was taken for two years after the High Court judgment. In 2012, death warrant was issued against Rajoana, leading to worldwide protests by the Sikh community.
20 Sep 2018
21 Sep 2018