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Balwant Singh Rajoana's Mercy Plea : Supreme Court Grants 2 Weeks Time For Centre To Decide As Last Chance

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
25 Jan 2021 12:25 PM GMT
Balwant Singh Rajoanas Mercy Plea : Supreme Court Grants 2 Weeks Time For Centre To Decide As Last Chance
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The Supreme Court on Monday granted Central Government further time of two weeks to take a decision on the mercy plea of death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana.A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India added that this will be the "last chance" for the Centre to take a call on the matter.The bench was hearing a writ petition filed by Balwant Singh seeking commutation of his death penalty...

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The Supreme Court on Monday granted Central Government further time of two weeks to take a decision on the mercy plea of death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana.

A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India added that this will be the "last chance" for the Centre to take a call on the matter.

The bench was hearing a writ petition filed by Balwant Singh seeking commutation of his death penalty on the ground that his mercy petition had been pending before the President of India for over eight years.

On the last date, Janaury 8, the Court had directed the Centre to take a decision by January 25.

When the matter was taken today, the Solicitor General of India, Mr.Tushar Mehta, sought one more opportunity to take a decision.

"Government is examining the matter. Under the present circumstances, have this matter after three weeks", the SG said.

The bench was not pleased with this request for further time.

"Why three weeks? What is happening Mr. Mehta?", CJI Bobde asked.

At this juncture, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the petitioner, opposed the Centre's request for adjournment.

"I oppose the request. Man is in jail for 25 years. His mercy plea has been pending for over 8 years", Rohatgi submitted.

"He is in jail for killing a Chief Minister", the SG responded.

"Why 3 weeks? Three weeks is unreasonable. We had asked you to decide before January 26", the CJI repeated.

The SG said that time was required as a "decision either ways will have some repercussions on the present circumstances", seemingly alluding to the ongoing protests from Punjab farmers against the farm laws.

The bench agreed to grant two more weeks time clarifying that this will be the last adjournment.

Balwant Singh Rajoana was sentenced to death for the murder of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in a bomb explosion in Chandigarh on August 31
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Rajoana, had earlier submitted that the the petitioner has been in custody for nearly 25 years and that his mercy plea before the President has been kept undecided for over eight years.Therefore, Rajoana is entitled to commutation of death penalty as per the SC decisions in Shatrughan Chouhan and Sriharan cases on account of delay in deciding the mercy petition.
In 2014, the Supreme Court commuted the death penalty of Perarivalan and two other convicts who had spent over twenty years in death row in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case to life sentence on the ground of inordinate delay in deciding their mercy petitions.












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