Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Delhi High Court upholds life term for plane hijacker

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday upheld the life sentence awarded to a political activist Hari Singh for hijacking an Indian Airlines flight in March 1993 but asked the government to suitably commute his sentence as he had committed the crime “to make a political point.”
A bench headed by Justice S. Ravinder Bhat upheld the life sentence awarded to Mr. Singh by a Delhi trial court in August 2001 saying “this court finds no infirmity with the approach or the findings of the trial court. The conviction of the appellant (Hari Singh) has to be sustained.”
Mr. Singh, who has been on bail since July 18, 2003, was given time till April 20 to surrender before the appropriate trial court.
While upholding Mr. Singh’s conviction, the court, however, recommended to the government to consider commuting his sentence appropriately as the convict, also a former school teacher, had taken the step to vent his frustration over the falling norms and values in the society.
“It would be appropriate for the government to consider the issue of suitably commuting or reviewing the appellant’s sentence in exercise of its constitutional power,” the bench, which also included Justice G. P. Mittal, said.
It said “the appellant was a misguided individual and perhaps wished to make a statement or a political point but such a conduct is impermissible and not in public interest as it amounts to an individual jeopardising the life and safety of several passengers and also disrupting vital services.”

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