Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday said that he would meet the President of India Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek clemency for Balwant Singh Rajoana, the Babbar Khalsa militant, who is currently facing the death sentence for his involvement in the assassination of Punjab chief minister Beant Singh on August 31, 1995.
Speaking on the floor of the house in Punjab Vidhan Sabha Badal said the Punjab government would explore all legal options to save Rajoana.
According to the orders issued by the Additional Sessions judge of the Chandigarh court, Shalini Singh Nagpal, on March 10 and later on March 19, Rajoana should be executed on March 31 at 9 in the morning on the Patiala central jail premises where he is presently lodged.
Badal also justified the stand taken by the Patiala central jail superintendent, Lakhwinder Singh Jakhar who had expressed his inability to execute the judge's orders citing various legal and territorial jurisdiction issues.
Badal defended the Jail superintendent for returning the court order back to the Judge and said he did so as there were several legal issues involved in it.
"Before executing the order of the court it is legal and constitutional duty of the Jail superintendent or for that matter any public servant that he does not comply with the same without using his own wisdom. In fact the public servant should ensure that that his negligence may not cost dear to the victim so that it becomes impossible to rectify the error later. Since the issue involves the most important human right-right to life, the duty of the Jail superintendent assumes all the more significance," said Badal.
Badal said after minutely contemplating all the legal aspects of the death warrants issued by the Chandigarh court, the jail superintendent found several legal and constitutional shortcomings. As a result it was impossible for him to execute the death warrants.
Moreover Lakhwinder Singh alias Lakha who is a co accused in the case has filed an appeal before the Supreme Court against his conviction which was still pending. "It is therefore important to wait for the outcome of the apex court's decision on Lakhwinder before the state decides to execute death warrants of Rajoana," said the chief minister.
Badal said the case did not come under the territorial jurisdiction of the Punjab state.
Badal also appreciated the stance of the slain chief minister Beant Singh's family on the issue. "They have already said that in order to keep peace and law and order situation in the state under control they will have no objection in case Rajoana was granted pardon".
Even Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), president, Capt. Amarinder Singh has stated that he would support the mercy petition filed before the president of India to save Rajoana's life, said Badal.