Court relief for jailor who refused to hang Beant's killer

Court relief for jailor who refused to hang Beant's killer

The jail superintendent of high-security Patiala Central Prison, L S Jakhar, who invited contempt of court for declining to execute the death warrants of Balwant Singh Rajoana, the assassin of former Punjab CM Beant Singh in August 1995, got relief on Friday after the Punjab and Haryana High Court dropped contempt charges against him.

The Chandigarh district court had fixed Rajoana’s date of execution for March 31, but the jail superintendent had refused to execute the death warrants. Justice Surya Kant of the High Court expressed satisfaction with Jakhar’s submissions that he had followed the Supreme Court’s judgment in the case of ‘Harbans Singh versus State of UP’.

The jail superintendent also issued an unconditional apology.  Days before the date of execution, the President had stayed the hanging on March 28 following a mercy petition.

Jhakhar contended that as per the manual, prior to execution of a death sentence, the jail superintendent needs to personally ascertain whether the death sentence imposed upon any of the co-accused of the prisoner has been commuted or not.

If it has been commuted, the superintendent should apprise higher authorities of the matter so that it could be brought to the notice of the court.

Additional Advocate General argued that the additional district and sessions judge had issued contempt notices to Jakhar out of her jurisdiction and the contempt notices can only be issued by the HC.

On March 27, the additional district and sessions judge issued contempt notice to Jakhar.