The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday stayed till January 29 the execution of the death sentence on 60-year-old Saibanna Ningappa Natikar, who is convicted for murdering his two wives and a daughter.
The Supreme Court has confirmed the death sentence on Natikar, who is on the death row at the Belgaum central jail. The president has rejected Saibanna’s mercy petition.
Natikar moved the high court after the president rejected his mercy petition contending that his mercy petition was pending for over seven years during which he has suffered “excruciating agony and uncertainty and underwent a lingering death under the shadow of the hangman’s noose expecting to be executed at any moment”.
Citing Articles 226 and 227 of the constitution, Saibanna’s counsel Ravi Verma Kumar sought from the court an interim direction restraining the jail authorities from carrying out the death sentence, declaring that rejection of Saibanna’s the order of the president of India as illegal and void, and issuing commuting his death sentence to life imprisonment.
The division bench of the HC headed by acting Chief Justice K Sreedhar Rao and justice S Abdul Nazeer adjourned the hearing to January 29.
Saibanna was sentenced to death in 2005 for murdering his second wife Nagamma and daughter Vijayalakshmi in 1994. At the time of murder, Saibanna was on parole from a life sentence for killing his first wife, Malkawwa.
The Supreme Court on April 21, 2005 upheld the verdict of the Karnataka High Court confirming the death sentence awarded by the trial court. President Pranab Mukherjee on January 4, 2013 rejected Saibanna’s mercy plea pending since April 29, 2005.
DNA spoke to two former advocates general on the maintainability of the petition. Uday Holla said, “The high court can examine any order of any authority including the president of India, under article 226 and 227 of the constitution of India. In this case, the supreme court’s order is not under challenge. The high court can examine the president’s order.”
“Certain similar cases were heard in the Madras High Court earlier. The case can be filed, challenging that the mercy petition remained pending for many years,” Ashok Haranahalli said.