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What next for Balwant Singh Rajoana?

What next for Balwant Singh Rajoana? Here are three scenarios – legal options and possibilities.

india Updated: Apr 01, 2012 12:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

What next for Balwant Singh Rajoana? Here are three scenarios – legal options and possibilities:

Scenario 1

Option: The Patiala jail superintendent moves the Punjab and Haryana high court for stay on the Chandigarh court’s directive to hang Balwant Singh Rajoana.

The grounds: One, he can’t be executed in Punjab because he was convicted by the Union Territory court. Secondly, the petitions challenging the sentence of Rajoana’s co-convicts Jagtar Singh Hawara and Lakhwinder Singh Lakha are still pending before the Supreme Court.

Expert take: ''The outcome of the pending petition can have a legal bearing on Rajoana’s case'' says Punjab additional A-G Anupinder Singh Grewal. Adds Vinod Ghai, leading criminal lawyer:''Merely because Rajoana confessed his crime doesn’t mean that he should be hanged to death and others to life sentence on the same crime and same evidence.''

Possibility of stay: High

Scenario 2

Option : The Punjab Government directly approaches the high court or the Supreme Court, seeking stay on the Chandigarh Court’s directive on execution of death warrant.

The ground: A condemned prisoner cann’t be hanged unless the state gives a green signal on its preparations. In the present case, Punjab hasn’t made such an application to the Chandigarh court. The SC may even issue a stay on a petition filed by human rights lawyer Navkiran Singh.

Expert take: ''The settled law is that the session court fixes the date for hanging only on the request of state government'' says constitutional expert Pritam Singh Kumedaan.

Possibility: High

Scenario 3

The President acts on the mercy petition filed by the third party (Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee and others) and stays the execution till a decision on the CBI’s petition in the Supreme Court challenging the high court’s conversion of Hawara’s death sentence into life term.

Expert take: ''Anyone can file the mercy petition and there is no issue of the 'locus standi' (legal right) on such petition'' says high court lawyer RS Bains.

Possibility: Medium, because the President entertains the mercy plea only after the legal options are exhausted.

First Published: Mar 27, 2012 23:03 IST