The Supreme Court Friday questioned the Centre over delay in sending proposal to the President for commuting the death sentence of Balwant Singh Rajoana, convicted in the 1995 assassination case of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde asked the Centre to apprise it as to when the authority would send the proposal in this regard to the President under Article 72 of the Constitution.
The article deals with power of President to grant pardon, suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases. The apex court noted that a letter was sent from the Ministry of Home Affairs to Punjab chief secretary on September 7 last year intimating that a proposal would be sent to the President to commute the death sentence of Rajoana.
The bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, asked Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj, appearing for the Centre, as to why the proposal has not been sent till now. The top court was hearing Rajoana's plea seeking direction for expeditious disposal of MHA's proposal to commute his death sentence.
Rajoana, a former Punjab Police constable, was convicted for his involvement in an explosion outside the Punjab civil secretariat that killed Beant Singh and 16 others in 1995.