HC to decide whether to abolish death sentence
Should death sentence be abolished for those held guilty of kidnapping for ransom? On Thursday, the Punjab and Haryana High Court will adjudicate upon this very crucial legal question.
The killers of 16-year-old Hoshiarpur resident Abhi Verma — who was abducted and killed for ransom in February 2005 — are scheduled to be hanged at 9 am on October 5 at the Patiala Central Jail. The accused, Vikram Singh Walia and Jasvir Singh, have challenged the validity of their death sentences under Section 364-A of the IPC.
The Supreme Court, on May 2, had dismissed the special leave petition (SLP) filed by the duo challenging the death sentences. Now, they have moved the high court seeking directions that death sentence, which can be awarded under Section 364-A of the IPC, be removed and their death sentences be commuted to life term.
Both residents of Hoshiarpur, the two along with their third accomplice Sonia had abducted and killed Abhi, a goldsmith's son, for ransom. The three were sentenced to death by a local Hoshiarpur court on December 21, 2006. The high court had confirmed the death sentences on May 30, 2008. However, the Supreme Court commuted Sonia's death sentence to life sentence.
Taking cognizance of the petition filed by the duo, a high court division bench headed by Justice Surya Kant on Monday issued notices to the Punjab, Haryana and central governments.
Keeping in view the urgency of the matter, the court has asked advocate generals of Punjab, Haryana and Assistant Solicitor General of India to assist the court on Thursday on the legal issue. To ensure that no time is wasted in deciding the case, the court has made it clear that there is no need to file a written reply or affidavit and fixed Thursday for "final disposal" of the case.
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