A fresh petition has been filed in the Lahore High Court for the early hearing of a case to prove the innocence of legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh in the murder case of a British police officer, seven months after the court sought a larger bench to hear the plea.
The court has yet to form the larger bench. Advocate Imtiaz Rashid Qureshi of Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation yesterday filed an application for early hearing of its petition.
"I have filed the petition in the LCH for early hearing of the Bhagat Singh case. Today I requested the registrar to get a date fixed for hearing of the case and hopefully the case will be heard this month," Queshi told PTI today.
He said he has also written to the federal government for making statue of Bhagat Singh at Shadman Chowk (central part of Lahore) where he was hanged along with his two comrades. "I have written to the government for building a statue of Singh but has not yet got any response from it in this regard," he added.
A division bench of the Lahore High Court in February had requested the chief justice to constitute a larger bench to hear the petition seeking reopening of the case of Singh. In the petition, Qureshi had said Singh was a freedom fighter and fought for independence of undivided India.
Singh was hanged by British rulers on March 23, 1931 at the age of 23, after being tried under charges for hatching a conspiracy against the colonial government. The case was filed against Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru for allegedly killing British police officer John P Saunders.Taking plea in his petition Advocate Qureshi said Singh was initially jailed for life but later awarded death sentence in another "fabricated case".
He further said Singh is respected even today in the subcontinent not only by Sikhs but also Muslims as the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah twice paid tribute to him. "It is a matter of national importance." He prayed the court set aside the sentence of Singh by exercising principles of review and order the government to honour him with state award.
In 2014, Lahore police provided the copy of the original FIR of the killing of Saunders in 1928 to the petitioner on the court's order. Singh's name was not mentioned in the First Information Report of the murder of Saunders for which he was handed down death sentence.
83 years after Singh's hanging, Lahore police (in 2014) searched through the record of the Anarkali police station on court's order and managed to find the FIR of the murder of Saunders. Written in Urdu, the FIR was registered with the Anarkali police station on December 17, 1928 at 4.30 pm against two 'unknown gunmen'. The case was registered under sections 302, 1201 and 109 of Indian Penal Code.
Qureshi said special judges of the tribunal handling Singh's case awarded death sentence to him without hearing the 450 witnesses in the case. Singh's lawyers were not given the opportunity of cross-questioning them. "I will establish Bhagat Singh's innocence in the Saunders case," he said.