A Chandigarh court on Monday reserved its orders in the Balwant Singh Rajoana death warrant case till Tuesday after hearing arguments.
Patiala central jail superintendent Lakhwinder Singh Jakhar appeared before additional district and sessions judge Shalini Nagpal to return the death warrants against Rajoana, who has been convicted for the assassination of the then Punjab CM Beant Singh on August 31, 1995.
Additional advocate general Anupinder Singh Grewal, who appeared on behalf of Patiala jail superintendent, submitted that as per the Supreme Court judgment, a death warrant in a case cannot be executed during the pendency of appeals filed by other co-accused.
Citing Supreme Court judgments, Grewal submitted that it was the duty of jail authorities to ascertain that no appeals were pending before any court before executing the death warrants.
He told the court that in this case, appeal of the co-accused in the Beant Singh case were pending and thus the execution could not be carried out.
Strongly opposing the contention, the CBI placed on record a letter dated January 8, 2010, by police authorities that the convict could be shifted to Patiala jail. CBI counsel Rajan Malhotra even accused jail authorities of shielding the convict and asserted that the jail superintendent's failure to execute the death warrants tantamount to contempt of court.
After hearing arguments from both sides, the court reserved its order till Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh, while talking to media persons outside district courts in SAS Nagar on Monday, said, "To preserve the hard-earned peace in the state, Punjab government should take up the issue and press for commuting the death sentence to life imprisonment. Punjab has seen troubled times and every effort should be made to preserve peace."
"Why is there a need for capital punishment at all? We need to abolish this at the earliest, Most countries have done away with the same and we also need to re-think the same," he remarked.
Punjab rural development and panchayats minister Surjit Singh Rakhra also told media persons in SAS Nagar: "Balwant Singh Rajoana should not be hanged. We have written a letter to the President to seek clemency for him."