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SC stays execution of Haryana ex-MLA’s daughter, 7 others
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, April 7
The Supreme Court has stayed the execution of eight death-row convicts, including Haryana former MLA Relu Ram Punia’s daughter Sonia and her husband Sanjeev, on petitions filed by their relatives and People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) apprehending that they might be hanged secretly as was done with Afzal Guru, convicted in the Parliament attack case.

A Bench comprising Justices P Sathasivam and MY Eqbal passed the order late last evening after hearing the arguments of senior counsel Colin Gonsalves who appeared for PUDR, a civil rights group, and the convicts’ relatives.

On death row

  • Sonia Chowdhary and her husband Sanjeev Kumar (Haryana) murdered eight members of her family, including her father
  • Gurmeet Singh (UP) killed 13 members of his family
  • Jafar Ali (UP) murdered his wife and five daughters
  • Suresh and Ramji (UP) eliminated five members of their younger brother's family
  • Praveen Kumar (Karnataka) convicted of killing four members of a family
  • Sundar Singh (Uttarakhand) convicted for rape-murder

During the hearing, held at the residence of Justice Sathasivam, the Bench said it did not want an incident similar to Jammu and Kashmir. It, however, did not mention the name of Afzal or the Parliament attack case. “There shall be stay of execution of the death sentence in respect of the eight petitioners. Notice to the states concerned returnable in four weeks,” the Bench said in its order.

PUDR approached the SC after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the mercy petitions of the eight convicts last week clearing the decks for their execution.

All the eight have been convicted for committing murders. Sonia Chowdhary, 31, and her husband Sanjeev Kumar, were sentenced to death for the gruesome murder of eight members of her family, including her father.

There shall be stay of execution of the death sentence in respect of the eight petitioners. Notice to the states concerned returnable in four weeks. — SC Bench

A taekwondo champion, Sonia had chosen her 19th birthday (August 23, 2001) to commit the crime at the farmhouse of her father at Litani Mor in Hisar. Among those bludgeoned to death were her mother Krishna, sister Priyanka, stepbrother Sunil, his wife Shakuntala and their three children — Lokesh (4), Shivani (2) and Preeti (45 days).

The petitioners have challenged the execution move citing the long delay in the rejection of the mercy pleas. The other convicts are Suresh, Ramji, Gurmeet Singh, Praveen Kumar, Sundar Singh and Jafar Ali.





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