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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Rajoana urges SC to commute death sentence


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New Delhi: Balwant Singh Rajoana, sentenced to death over the assassination of Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, on Tuesday urged the Supreme Court to commute his capital punishment, saying he was suffering due to judicial delays.

The submission was made to a Bench headed by Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit.

“This man (Rajoana) is suffering only due to delay. His (Rajoana’s) death sentence has to be commuted. Now the affidavit of Punjab government says that Punjab is a border state and that is why no release on Guru Nanak Jayanti,” former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said.

The Supreme Court was hearing the plea filed by former Punjab Police constable and pro-Khalistan militant Rajoana, who has been in jail for 26 years, for his involvement in the assassination of Beant Singh.

The Chief Justice said the case will be heard on Thursday.

After serving 26 years in jail including 10 years on death row, Rajoana pleaded to the Supreme Court and sought its mercy in passing orders for his commutation from death to life imprisonment.

Rajoana moved the Supreme Court and filed a writ petition in 2020 on the ground the Centre had in 2019 announced its decision to commute his death penalty to life imprisonment and grant remission to eight other convicts to mark the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

Rajoana sought for the implementation of the decision. He also sought an alternate prayer to commute his death sentence on the ground of long delay in considering the mercy petition.

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