New Delhi, May 2: The Supreme Court Monday directed the Centre to decide within two months Balwant Singh Rajoana's plea that his death penalty in the 1995 assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh be commuted to life imprisonment on ground of his long incarceration of nearly 26 years.

A bench headed by Justice Uday Umesh Lalit said the pendency of appeals of other co-convicts in the apex court in the case would not come in the way of authorities in deciding Rajoana's plea.

Rajoana, a former Punjab police constable, was convicted for his involvement in an explosion outside the Punjab civil secretariat that killed Beant Singh and 16 others on August 31, 1995. Beant Singh Case: Supreme Court Directs Centre To Take Decision Within 2 Weeks on Death Row Convict Balwant Singh Rajoana’s Mercy Petition.

The top court has been hearing Rajoana's plea seeking commutation of the death sentence to life term on the ground that he has been in jail for 26 years. A special court had in July 2007 awarded the death sentence to Rajoana in the case.