‘Hanging’ in limbo: 11 await execution of death penalty

Lodged in different jails of the state,11 persons awarded death penalty by various courts in Haryana,are awaiting fate of their appeals,challenging their death sentence,in the apex court for the last several years.

Written by RAGHAV OHRI | Chandigarh | Published:January 18, 2009 1:59 am

Lodged in different jails of the state,11 persons awarded death penalty by various courts in Haryana,are awaiting fate of their appeals,challenging their death sentence,in the apex court for the last several years.

Of the 11,four are in Ambala Jail,five in Gurgaon and two in Hisar.

While some were awarded death penalty a decade ago,some are awaiting execution for the last six years. However,one case that stands out is that of Dharam Pal.

He was awarded death penalty by a trial court on June 10,1993,holding him guilty of murder. His appeal challenging his death penalty was dismissed by the Punjab and Haryana High court on September 29,1998,and further dismissed by Supreme Court on March 18,1999.

Dharam Pal filed a mercy petition before the President which is pending since April 1999. Demanding conversion of their death sentence to life imprisonment on the ground of delay,advocate Navkiran Singh has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Citing various Supreme Court judgments,Navkiran has contended that the death penalty awarded to these people cannot be executed and has to be converted into life imprisonment since the Supreme Court has categorically held that if there is a long delay in execution of death penalty,then it has to be converted into life sentence.

Another significant issue raised by Navkiran is the concept of solitary confinement. All those awarded death penalty are kept in solitary confinement against the Supreme Court strict directions. “The Supreme Court has held in its various judgments that solitary confinement is inhuman and uncalled for. I have demanded that till the time the appeals and mercy petitions of these persons are decided,they should not be kept in solitary confinement,” said Navkiran.

It is worth a mention here that there are 16 such detenuees in Punjab and three in Chandigarh,who had been awarded death penalty and are awaiting decision on their appeals.

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