Rajoana case: BJP, SAD for abolition of death penalty

Against the backdrop of clemency demands for death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana, BJP and SAD today made a strong pitch in the Rajya Sabha for abolition of death penalty by asking Government to bring a legislation.

hidden March 30, 2012 16:20:40 IST
Rajoana case: BJP, SAD for abolition of death penalty

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of clemency demands for death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana, BJP and SAD today made a strong pitch in the Rajya Sabha for abolition of death penalty by asking Government to bring a legislation.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Naresh Gujral (SAD) said the civilised world is gradually abolishing capital punishment with only few countries like China, Iran, North Korea, Yemen and Saudi Arbia still contributing to death penalty.

Rajoana case BJP SAD for abolition of death penalty

AFP

Terming death penalty as "ultimate denial of human rights", Gujral said India, which is a peace loving country, should not support death penalty.

"I urge Government to bring a legislation to abolish death penalty," he said.

Joining the issue SS Ahluwalia (BJP) also said India, which talks of Manav Dharma, should get rid of the provision of death penalty and urged Government to do it through the legislative route.

Gujaral said that "unsuccessful attempts" were made in the country previously as well to do with death penalty in 1956, 1958, 1961 and 1962.

He pointed that the architect of Indian Constitution BR Ambedkar had also preferred abolition of death penalty in his speech at the Constituent Assembly.

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 31 March but has already been stayed by the Centre. Rajoana is presently lodged in Patiala Central Jail.

The NGO had challenged the 22 March 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 commutation 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 31 August, 1995.

The special CBI court had awarded death sentence to Rajoana and Jagtar Singh Hawara on 1 August 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.

PTI

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