A petition has been filed in the Punjab and Haryana high court by former member of Parliament Simranjit Singh Mann, seeking stay on the execution of death-row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana and other such prisoners till the Punjab Jail Manual is amended as it is allegedly against the Supreme Court judgment and violates fundamental rights of prisoners.
Rajoana, who is lodged in the Patiala central jail, was convicted for the 1995 assassination of then Punjab chief minister Beant Singh and 17 others in Chandigarh. The district court here had fixed March 31, 2012, as the date of Rajoana's execution. However, on March 28, 2012, the President stayed Rajoana's hanging on a mercy petition filed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).
The public interest litigation filed by Mann, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), will come up for hearing on Thursday before the division bench headed by justice Jasbir Singh.
Mann has submitted that the jail manual does not provide rules for hearing of the condemned prisoner or his/her family members/relatives regarding the last wishes, communication to the family of the condemned prisoner regarding the execution by the jail authorities and thereafter handing over the body of the prisoner hanged to death to his family.
The petitioner has sought directions for framing of statutory rules and regulations for the condemned/death penalty-awarded prisoners. As per Mann, the jail manual is against the Supreme Court judgment passed in 1980 in the 'Sunil Batra vs Delhi Administration' case and confers vague and undefined power on the jail authorities.
It has been submitted that the jail manual was framed during British rule more than 100 years ago and its various paragraphs violate the fundamental rights granted by the Constitution, which was framed after Independence.