On a day when the chief minister of Punjab zipped in and out of Delhi to seek legal expertise for the clemency of Babbar Khalsa terrorist Balwant Singh Rajoana, the Patiala jail superintendent continued to defy court orders for the March 31 hanging citing legal issues.
On Tuesday evening, after the Chandigarh sessions court rejected superintendent Lakhwinder Singh Jakhar's petition and slapped a contempt of court notice on him, Jakhar maintained that he was "unable and disabled in law" to accept the death warrant of Rajoana.
Rajoana is currently lodged in the Central Jail at Patiala.
Jakhar even said he would move the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the order."Since two different appeals of two other convicts, Lakhwinder Singh Lakha and Jagtar Singh Hawara, in the same murder case are pending in the Supreme Court there is no question of hanging the third accused before the apex court decides on appeals of the rest of the two accused," he told HT.
Meanwhile, dismissing a PIL seeking a stay on the hanging, the Punjab and Haryana high court said on Tuesday that once a sentence was awarded by a competent court, no other court except the court in appeal or revision could modify the order.
Additional district and sessions judge Shalini Singh Nagpal said Jakhar had not once, but on two occasions, refused to execute the warrants of sentence of death and "even intended to interfere with the judicial proceedings, obstruct the administration of justice".
While political wrangling continued over the hanging, various Sikh organisations issued a call of state-wide bandh on Wednesday. The All India Sikh Students Federation also extended its full support to the bandh.
Apprehending violence in the wake of the bandh on Wednesday and possible execution on Saturday, Punjab police and paramilitary forces conducted a flag march in various places.
Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini directed district police chiefs to take all preventive and necessary steps to maintain peace and police patrolling was intensified. Security around the Patiala jail was also beefed up. What next for Rajoana