UT court refers contempt case against jail official to HC
A Chandigarh district and sessions court has referred to the Punjab and Haryana high court the case of contempt of court against Patiala central jail superintendent Lakhwinder Singh Jakhar after he did not execute the death warrants of Balwant Singh Rajoana in the Beant Singh assassination case.chandigarh Updated: Jun 07, 2012 21:10 IST
A Chandigarh district and sessions court has referred to the Punjab and Haryana high court the case of contempt of court against Patiala central jail superintendent Lakhwinder Singh Jakhar after he did not execute the death warrants of Balwant Singh Rajoana in the Beant Singh assassination case.
Additional district and sessions judge Shalini Singh Nagpal, while pronouncing the orders, said, "I am making a reference to the high court."
The Chandigarh court had fixed Rajoana's date of execution for March 31 but Jakhar had allegedly refused to execute the death warrants citing relevant Supreme Court's judgment. On March 28, the President of India had stayed Rajoana's hanging following Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee's mercy petition.
Technically, the additional district and sessions judge does not have the power to initiate contempt proceedings. So there were only two options for the judge, either to drop the contempt charges or to make a reference to the high court. Now, the case would first be put up on the administrative side in the high court and after examination would come up for hearing on the judicial side.
The local court had issued contempt notice to Jakhar on March 27 after he refused to execute the death warrants by way of written communication on March 19 and March 24. The court had commented that he had even intended to interfere with the judicial proceedings, obstruct the administration of justice and also lower the authority of the court.
However, in his reply, Jakhar apprised the court that as per the Supreme Court's judgment in case of 'Harbans Singh vs State of UP', it was directed that prior to execution of the death sentence, "the jail superintendent should ascertain personally whether the death sentence imposed upon any of the co-accused of the prisoner, who is due to be hanged, has been commuted and if it has been commuted, the superintendent should apprise the superior authorities of the matter" so that it could be brought before the court concerned.
Jakhar had also submitted that co-convict Jagtar Singh Hawara's death sentence in the Beant Singh assassination case had been commuted by the high court. He added that appeals of both co-accused Lakhwinder Singh and Hawara had also been pending in the apex court and it would be in accordance with the law to await the outcome of these appeals.
He had also informed the court that a person once hanged could not be brought back to life and he found it necessary to bring the facts before the court before carrying out the execution.