Posted by: Singh Is King | Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Why the Singhs should not be given Death Sentence

Arunjeev Singh Walia, Co-Defense counsel Beant Singh Assassination case

Dear all,

I am citing few reasons why Hawara and Balwant Singh in the Beant Singh Assassination case should not be sent to gallows:

In India, Cr.P.C. Sec.354(2) lays down that the court can award death sentence but “special reasons” must be given while awarding death sentence. SC has interpreted this section in the manner that, Life Impr. is a rule and death sentence is an exception, which can be awarded only after discussing and differentiating between mitigating and aggravating circumstances. The landmark judgment in the matter is Bachan Singh Vs. State of Punjab in which what are aggravating and what are mitigating circumstances are described and the trial courts have been asked to discuss and weight these circumstances while choosing the appropriate sentence.

In the case of Hawara, there are no aggravating circumstances, which comes under Bachan Singh’s judgment. In Rajendra Prasad vs. State of UP, the SC has said that the number of persons killed cannot alone be reason for awarding death sentence. This judgment was relied by the court in this case while imposing LI to others. Why Hawara has
been separated.

Further the court need to give reason on the basis of evidence available on file that the accused cannot be reformed and he will be a menace to the society if given LI. As far as I know no evidence was led by CBI on this point. Even if Hawara is held to be the mastermind (which CBI has not shown), then also there is no evidence to show that he cannot be reformed if given LI. There is no evidenc that he is a hardened criminal which is after the blood of every human being, ie. he has the devil’s instict. The SC has used this word “devil’s instict” in a judgment .

Regarding Balwant Singh, there are no. of mitigating circumstances which needs awarding of LI.

1. He has pleaded guilty from the beginning of the trial(After three years) till the end. He is a reformed person. He has surrendered his fate to the circumstances, which means that he is not in his proper state of mind to decide what is good and what is bad for him.

2.His role in the whole conspiracy is not of a mastermind, but a part in the conspiracy. He alone cannot be blamed for the death of 17 persons in the blast.

3.He had confessed to his crime charged with emotions for Dilawar Singh. Which means that he also committed the offence(if at all he is proved to have committed beyond reasonable doubt by the court) driven by emotions for his brotherhood and Sikh religion to save sikh youths life from Butcher Pb.Police. He has said so in his confessional statement which is with me and also the court. So his reason of confessing is emotional which is a mitigating circmstnaces as per the SC judgment.

Moreover, giving death sentence only because he has no faith in judiciary of India or the law of land and also because he has confessed to his guilt is most unfair and
illegal.

Rather he should be treated with sympathy because he has given up fighting for justice and decided not to put his defence as per the established principle of natural justice that every accused should be given sufficient opportunity to defend himself against the State. This is written in Int.Covenent on Civil,Political and Economic Rights((ICCPR) which India has not ratified but signed it.

In my view, Balwant Singh is not at all liable to be given Death Sentence and HC might commute his sentence to LI. Regarding Hawara, I am not sure, because his escape from jail and subsequent cases of cinema hall blasts would be taken into account by HC and SC which should not hav ebeen taken because the courts are allowed to take evidence on record and appreciate that evidence which is connected with the case.

I think these are few arguments apart from others which lawyers in HC would put before the HC. I think the high profile category of this case might cause hinderance in the mind of the HC judges while deciding the punishment, but we have seen that Delhi HC acquitted Prof.Gilani in Parliament AttacK case. I think if some senior counsel from Delhi would argue for Gurmeet Singh and Shamsher Singh, they might be acquitted, because their role is negligible in the whole conspiracy with no evidence to connect them to crime.

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