Rajoana: M S Gill wants abolition of death penalty

Even as Cong has disapproved of demands for clemency for death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana.

New Delhi: Even as Congress has disapproved of demands for clemency for death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana, its MP M S Gill has said death penalty was a
"barbarian concept" and should be abolished immediately through legislation.

Gill, former Chief Election Commissioner and Union
Minister, said the provision for death penalty needed to be
done away with "to avoid the tensions" which arise every now
and then.

"The civilized world gave up the death penalty in the
last century. India too rejected this barbarian concept.

Unfortunately, it was brought back, through a judicial
approval in, `the rarest of rare cases`. Since then, judges
give it frequently. It is difficult to see any consistent
philosophy in their decisions," he said.

His statement came against the backdrop of the clemency
demands for Rajoana who has been awarded death sentence for
killing former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh in 1995.

"I oppose death penalty totally. I call upon the
government to put an immediate stop to this form of justice,
if necessary by a parliamentary change of the law," Gill said.

"I am of the view that death penalty be replaced by a
very long life sentence in jail in appropriate cases. This
will avoid the tensions which arise every now and then," he

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Sikh body
SGPC has been leading a campaign for clemency for Rajoana.

This was disapproved by Congress yesterday, with its
spokesman Abhishek Singhvi saying "there is no role given to
the Assembly and this (hanging of Rajoana) is a culmination of
the legal process. These issues proceed under a legal and
constitutional process and reach up to a certain point."

He said "whatever any Assembly may say, it cannot have
any legal or Constitutional impact".