Haryana cabinet for pardoning 4 life convicts
The council of ministers in Haryana, on Thursday, recommended to governor Jagannath Pahadia to consider grant of pardon to four murder convicts from chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's constituency Garhi Sampla-Kiloi who were sentenced to life imprisonment by a Rohtak court in 2003.chandigarh Updated: May 03, 2013 13:02 IST
The council of ministers in Haryana, on Thursday, recommended to governor Jagannath Pahadia to consider grant of pardon to four murder convicts from chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's constituency Garhi Sampla-Kiloi who were sentenced to life imprisonment by a Rohtak court in 2003.
A division bench of the Punjab and Haryana high court had, in 2010, dismissed the criminal appeal filed by the convicts, Rambir, Vinod alias Lakhmi, Satpal and Rajiv, residents of Kansala village of Rohtak district. They were charged under sections 302 (punishment for murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) and section 25 of the Arms Act in an FIR lodged at Sampla police station in Rohtak on May 23, 2001.
The FIR was a consequence of the killings which took place during a clash between two groups in Kansala village subsequent to the election of sarpanch.
The four, along with one Sher Singh who later committed suicide, were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Rohtak additional sessions judge on January 25, 2003.
The same year, the convicts filed a criminal appeal in the high court against their conviction and sentence. One of the arguments given by the counsels of the appellants and the state was that after the present incident, a number of violent clashes took place between the two groups. Haryana advocate general Hawa Singh Hooda argued before the HC that a few persons from both the groups were killed in these clashes. "With great efforts of the respectable people of the village, a compromise was worked out between the two parties. It took at least two years to settle the dispute. Under sections 320 and 321 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), an offence punishable under section 302 of the IPC is not compoundable.
The state is responsible for maintaining law and order. Except in some marginal cases, court should not allow composition of offences, but when parties have settled their dispute and are ready to live in peace in future, when there is a marginal case, then as per evidence on the file, appeal may be disposed of.
Revision was instituted by the complainant to enhance the sentence but revision was got dismissed as withdrawn. So, a lenient view may be taken,'' the advocate general told the HC.
Dismissing their appeal in March 2010, a division bench of the high court comprising Justice Satish Kumar Mittal and Justice Jora Singh said that under sections 320 and 321 of the CrPC when the offence is not compoundable, the accused are not to be acquitted on the basis of compromise. "From the perusal of evidence on the file, we are of the opinion that present case does not fall in the category of marginal cases," the HC said.
While Rambir has served an actual sentence of about seven years, Vinod has served an actual sentence of about five years. The two other accused, Satpal and Rajiv, have served actual sentences of about two and four years, respectively.
Section 433-A, CrPC imposes restriction on powers of remission or commutation in certain cases. It says: "Notwithstanding anything contained in section 432, where a life sentence is imposed on conviction of a person for an offence for which death is one of the punishments provided by law, or where a sentence of death imposed on a person has been commuted under section 433 into one of imprisonment for life, such person shall not be released from prison unless he had served at least 14 years of imprisonment."
The cabinet, while recommending the cases for grant of pardon, said, "Clemency to them is in the larger interest of maintaining social harmony, law and order as well as peace in their village and in the region."
It approved the mercy appeal under Article 161 of the Constitution with recommendation for grant of pardon on the basis of compromise effected between the parties after assessing the recommendatory reports of the DGP, Rohtak deputy commissioner and others, an official spokesperson said. The conduct of the petitioners has also been satisfactory in jail, as per the report of the director general of prisons, the spokesperson said.
State officials, when asked whether their cases were covered under the policy of remission or commutation of sentence, as stipulated by section 433A of the CrPC, said the policy was meant only for cases of premature release of life convicts and would not apply to cases of pardon which the governor is empowered to decide under Article 161 of the Constitution.