By Sanjeev Kumar Singh Chauhan
New Delhi, Jan 23 (IANS) Retired Delhi High Court Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra on Thursday said the transfer of the judge who issued the ‘death warrant’ for the convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case won’t be a hindrance to the execution of the criminals.
In an interaction with IANS, the retired judge said if no other legal or paper-related issues surface, the death warrants of the perpetrators in the Nirbhaya case would remain intact and valid.
Dhingra has also been the chairman of one of the SITs probing the 1984 anti-Sikh massacre.
He was the one who pronounced the death sentence on Kashmiri terrorist Afzal Guru, the main conspirator in the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001.
Dhingra was a Sessions Judge at the Patiala House Courts in Delhi when he delivered the death sentence on Afzal Guru.
“As far as I can remember, the Parliament attack case was filed in the court in the month of June. On December 18, 2002, I sentenced the criminal to death. I then went to the Delhi High Court. The Appellate High Court then sent the death sentence pronounced by me to the Supreme Court. Afzal Guru was hanged even after I was transferred,” he told IANS.
Since the Patiala House court judge who pronounced the death sentence for the convicts in the Nirbhaya case has been sent on deputation, will the ‘death warrant’ of Nirbhaya’s rapists and killers be deemed “invalid”?
Responding to this, Dhingra said: “No, this is all nonsense. It is also surprising of some media outlets that are saying the death warrant would become worth ‘zero’ since the judge who issued it has been transferred.
“More than death warrant, what’s important is the trial court’s punishment. The ‘death warrant’ is a part of the legal process. It is important that the transfer of the relevant judge of the trial court sentencing it is in the middle. It has not happened. In such a situation, the new judge may face problems in understanding the files and the case. However, it is rarely seen,” he added.
“As far as the death warrant of death sentence of Nirbhaya’s killers is concerned, the death warrant has been issued. Its value will remain the same,” Dhingra said.
(Sanjeev Kumar Singh Chauhan can be contacted at [email protected])