The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday stayed the execution of murder convict Dharampal Singh till May 22.
The Sonepat sessions court had, on May 5, 1997, awarded death sentence to Dharampal, 45, for the murder of five people. He was to be hanged on April 15 at Ambala Central Jail.
After moving the high court to seek commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment and restraining the authorities from carrying out his execution, the court had, on April 6, stayed his execution. He had taken the ground that the President took 14 years to reject his mercy petition filed in April 1999.
A division bench, comprising justice Surya Kant and justice Naresh Kumar Sanghi, adjourned the case for May 22 since the petitioner's advocate Navkiran Singh was not available due to some other assignment.
During the arguments, the court said the petitioner needed to file a review petition in the Supreme Court against apex court order of March 18, 1999, in which it had dismissed Dharampal's appeal.
The counsel appearing for the Haryana government submitted that Dharampal, in his petition, had taken the ground that his execution needed to be stayed since the Supreme Court was seized of the matter of a death sentence convict Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar. "The Supreme Court has dismissed Bhullar's petition," the government counsel said. Bhullar was sentenced to death for carrying out bomb blast, claiming nine lives outside the All-India Youth Congress headquarters in New Delhi in 1993.
On a complaint of an alleged rape victim, Dharampal, a native of Mohalla Panna in Gohana tehsil of Sonepat, was awarded 10 years' imprisonment on January 7, 1991. In 1993, when he was out on parole, he had murdered the alleged rape victim's father, mother, two brothers and a sister on June 4, 1993. The victim and her husband were able to save their lives. On November 19, 2003, the high court had acquitted Dharampal of rape charge after finding that it was "a case of consent".