The Supreme Court has stayed the execution of two death row convicts - Vikram Singh and Jasvir Singh @ Jassa, who were sentenced to death for kidnapping and killing a 16-year-old boy after demanding a ransom of Rs 50 lakh from his father.
The bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Amitava Roy stayed the execution of death sentence and posted the matter to 2.00 pm on Monday (October 24th) for the final disposal.
The sessions court had issued death warrants for the execution of the two convicts on 25th of this month.
A petition for re-opening the review petition was filed by the convicts through Advocate BS Billowaria, in view of the Supreme Court Judgment in Mohammed Arif @ Ashfaq vs. Registrar, Supreme Court.
In Arif’s case, the constitution bench of the Supreme Court by 4:1 majority extended the scope of Article 21 of the Constitution by holding that hearing of cases in which death sentence has been awarded should be by a bench of three judges and the hearing of review petitions in death sentence cases should not be by circulation but should only be in open court.
The review petitioners were tried, convicted and sentenced to death under Sections 302 and 364A of the Indian Penal Code, for kidnapping and killing a 16-year-old boy and demanding a ransom of Rs 50 lakh from his father. The conviction and sentence awarded to them was affirmed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, and later by the Supreme Court.
Later, the review petitioners filed a writ petition before the high court challenging the constitutionality of Section 364A awarding death penalty, which also got dismissed. Thereafter, they filed an appeal before the Supreme Court.
A three-judge bench had dismissed the appeal, and held that Section 364A awarding death penalty as a possible punishment, for kidnapping any person threatening to cause death in order to compel government or any other person, to pay ransom , is not unconstitutional.
Read the order here.