3 May 2023

Beant Singh Murder Case: Supreme Court Did Not Give Relief To Balwant Singh Rajoana From Death Penalty

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the plea of Babbar Khalsa terrorist Balwant Singh Rajoana for commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment, the killer of the then Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh.

A bench of Justice BR Gavai, Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Sanjay Karol refused to grant the relief to Rajoana, saying the Union Home Ministry may consider the matter at an appropriate time if the party concerned makes a fresh request. 

A three-judge bench headed by Justice BR Gavai said in its judgment that the delay by the Union Home Ministry in deciding Rajoana's mercy plea could be attributed to its reluctance to reduce his sentence.

The apex court had reserved its verdict on March 2, 2023 after completion of hearing on Rajoana's plea for commutation of sentence.

Rajoana is in jail for 26 years

Significantly, Rajoana, who was arrested in the 1995 blast case in which 18 people including Singh were killed, is in jail for the last 26 years. He had pleaded before the apex court in 2020 to convert his death sentence to life imprisonment, citing his mercy petition being pending for years.

Death sentence was awarded in 2007

A special court had in 2007 awarded death sentence to Rajoana, a former Punjab police constable, and Jagtar Singh Hawara, another terrorist, for the murder of Mr. Singh and others. In 1995, Mr Singh and 17 others were killed in a blast outside the Punjab Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh.

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