The condemned prisoner knew about his rights to defend himself during the trial but he deliberately chose not to seek any legal help, the court said.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has rejected the plea of sister of Balwant Singh Rajoana, a death convict, seeking commutation of death sentence.
Balwant Singh Rajoana, along with co-accused Jagtar Singh Hawara, was awarded death sentence by the trial court in 2007, for assassination of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh. The death sentence awarded to Jagtar Singh Hawara was commuted to life imprisonment, but the sentence awarded to Balwant Singh Rajoana was maintained. Rajoana did not seek any legal help during the trial, and did not file any appeal against his death sentence. He was ordered to be executed on March 31, 2012, but it was later stayed by the Home Ministry.
Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, during the course of hearing, asked the counsel for Kamaldeep Kaur Rajoana, Balwant Singh’s sister, to argue on the issue of maintainability of this petition at the instance of the sister of the condemned prisoner, who actually is the aggrieved person.
Unimpressed with the submissions, the court said: “The condemned prisoner knew about his rights to defend himself during the trial but he deliberately chose not to seek any legal help. After his conviction and sentence, he did not choose to challenge the same by way of an appeal to the Supreme Court and had accepted the sentence awarded by the Supreme Court for the offence(s) committed.”
The court said Kamaldeep is not an aggrieved person and does not have any locus standi to maintain the petition. The court added: “In exceptional circumstances, if it is felt by the Court that the aggrieved person, because of ignorance, illiteracy, inarticulation or poverty, is unable to approach the court, then the petition on his or her behalf, filed by others, may be considered but the facts of this case do not at all indicate in any manner that the condemned prisoner needs anybody's help to espouse his cause in the Court much-less for seeking a direction for his release by commuting the death sentence into life imprisonment.”