Spell out stand on Rajoana’s mercy plea by Thursday, Supreme Court tells Centre
The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to spell out its stand within a day on the mercy petition of death-row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana in the former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh assassination case.
“We can’t force you to take what decision…but you have to take a decision,” said a Bench led by Chief Justice of India UU Lalit – which had earlier asked the Centre to take a decision in two months on Rajoana’s mercy petition without being influenced by pending appeals of other convicts in the case.
“The time of two months granted on May 2 has expired long back. However, as submitted by Additional Solicitor General KM Natraj, no decision has been taken by the authorities concerned. Matter adjourned at the ASG’s request to Friday as the first item on board,” the Bench ordered.
The petitioner’s counsel submitted that the convict has been in jail for more than 26 years and on death row since 2007.
Convicted of assassinating Beant Singh in 1995, Rajoana has been in jail for 25 years awaiting his execution. The former Punjab Chief Minister and 16 others were killed in an explosion outside the Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh in 1995. He was sentenced to death in 2007 by a special court. His mercy petition has been hanging fire for more than eight years.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had said the mercy petition can’t be considered as it was filed by another organisation and not Rajoana himself and that it can’t be decided until the appeals of other convicts was decided by the top court.