Punjab and Haryana HC puts off Dharampal's hanging to Jan 31

The Punjab and Haryana High Court once again deferred the hanging of murder convict Dharampal, this time shifting the execution date to January 31, 2014. The case was adjourned awaiting outcome of an appeal filed in the Supreme Court by Dharampal and other similar condemned prisoners. The high court had earlier stayed the hanging on April 11.

Dharampal was sentenced to death by Supreme Court in 1999 for killing five members of the family of a girl he was charged with raping. The murders were committed while he was out on bail in 1993. In July, the President of India had dismissed his mercy petition. He was to be hanged on April 15 but the high court stayed it.

Dharampal had moved the court challenging the death sentence, with his counsel Navkiran Singh, contending that since there had been a considerable delay in the award of death sentence and dismissal of his mercy petition his sentence must be commuted to life imprisonment. Navkiran had also contended that Dharampal was acquitted in the rape case, a fact, he said, which was not brought to the President's knowledge when the latter was deciding on the mercy petition.

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