Sunday, June 19

Dr Khaleel Chishty will finally be free

by Shivam Vij
This note comes from KAVITA SRIVASTAVA of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties
An ailing Dr Chishty may soon see his family again
Dr. Khaleel Chishty, the 78 year old a renowned Virologist from Pakistan, will now go home very soon. A process that began on the 20th of April, 2011 will finally conclude at the Rajasthan end two months later precisely on the 20th of June, with the Governor signing the mercy petition that will let him go, once the MEA give their stamp. 
As you are aware Dr. Chishty was sentenced for life for allegedly being an accomplice in a murder case in Ajmer, which was false. The sentencing happened after 19 years on 31st January, 2011. In this period of 19 years, Dr. Chishty never went home to Karachi in Pakistan, lived a life of a desolate in a farm as he was out on bail and could not leave the country. After the decision of the protracted trial, he was arrested and was moved to the Ajmer Central Jail, it may be known that Dr. Chishty is a paraplegic, with a history of repeated heart attacks. He applied for relief of  suspension of sentence from the Rajasthan High Court Jaipur, which was denied to him, simply because he had not served, enough time in Jail, although all the others convicted in the same case had their sentence suspended. Actually, the covert reason which was the comment made by the judge was that how could a Pakistani be granted suspension of sentence, not seeing the tragedy of his life, his health.
Dr. Chishty who is 78 years old, suffered several heart attacks and a hip bone fracture found himself in Ajmer with an absolute bleak future, perhaps never to go home. A campaign of several journalists, judges, lawyers and acitivists, began in April this month in both countries, to get Dr. Chishty out of the country, after being granted mercy at the India level.
This is how the chronology of events happened to get him released.
20th April: A PUCL, Rajasthan delegation consisting of myself Radha Kant Saxena and Dr. Chishty’s brother from Ajmer, Jamil Chishty gave a memo to Home Secretary requesting him to begin the proceedings of granting mercy petition to Dr. Khaleel Chishty.- see attachment for all the details of Dr. Chishty’s case. It may be known that the first step is the Home Department asking the Jail authorities to send the papers including an application by Dr. Chishty requesting mercy. The home department sets the bal rolling.
22nd April: A memo was also sent to the Governor by the PUCL, Rajasthan requesting pardon for  Dr. Chishty or the remission under Article 161 of the Indian Consitution.
25th April:  Renowned film maker Sh. Mahesh Bhatt and senior journalist Sh. Kuldip Nayar meet Governor of Punjab and Rajsathan Sh. Shivraj Patil in Chandigarh, he assured them that he would try his best.
23rd or 24th May:  File of Dr. Chishty arrives from Central Ajmer level, with all the papers needed including NOC and good character from Collector, SP and a letter by Dr. Chishty himself requesting mercy from the Governor, Medical report, case papers, all this came through the Jail authorities to Home Secretary in Jaipur through the DG Jails, Omendra Bharadwaj. .
27th May : After whetting the files by the concerned Deputy Secretary, in the Home Department the file reaches the Home Secretary.
30th May, Home Secretary moves his note to the Chief Secretary, Sh. S Ahmed, from where it went to the Home Minister of Rajasthan Sh. Shanti Dhariwal.
7th June, the file reached the Chief Mnister, Rajasthan, Sh, Ashok Gehlot
16th June: Pakistan Supreme Court appeals to its Indian Counter part and the PM to intervene and release Dr. Chishty on humanitarian grounds.
16th June, Justice Markandey Katju writes to PM in his individual capacity for the early release of Dr. Chishty on Humanitarian grounds.17th June CM signed the petition.
19th or 20th June the Governor will sign the file.
20th – 21st June File will return to the Home Department and from there it will be sent to Home Ministry, Union of India and MEA.
Katju urges Manmohan to free Pakistan prisoner on humanitarian grounds
J. Venkatesan
Khalil Chishty, 80, who was awarded life term, has been languishing in Ajmer jail

It will be a disgrace to our country if he
dies in jail
Pardon can be granted even when a case
is pending

New Delhi: Disturbed by reports of an 80-year-old Pakistani national languishing in the Ajmer jail in Rajasthan, Justice Markandey Katju of the Supreme Court has appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to release him on humanitarian grounds.
In an email sent to Dr. Singh through Rajiv Shukla, MP, Justice Katju said he was making this appeal, not as a judge but as a human being, for the release of Dr. Khalil Chishty, who is old and infirm, under Article 72 of the Constitution.
In an unprecedented step earlier this year, Justice Katju, who was heading a Bench, passed an order, on a writ petition, requesting Pakistani authorities to consider the appeal of Indian prisoner Gopal Dass and release him on humanitarian grounds by remitting his jail term.
“We cannot give any direction to the Pakistan authorities because we have no jurisdiction over them. However, that does not prevent us from making a request to the Pakistani authorities to consider the appeal of the petitioner for releasing him on humanitarian grounds,” he said disposing of the petition filed by Anand on behalf of his brother Mr. Dass. The Pakistan government responded and released Mr. Dass, who has since returned to India.
Taking their cue from this episode, petitioners moved the Pakistan Supreme Court for the release of Dr. Chishty. A three-judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, however, dismissed the petition after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the court that it was actively pursuing the matter with the Indian government to secure Dr. Chishty's release.
Justice Katju, in his letter, drew the Prime Minister's attention to the fact that Dr. Chishty was an eminent Professor of Virology in the Karachi Medical College, and that he holds a PhD from the Edinburgh University. In 1992, he visited Ajmer to meet his ailing mother. There was a dispute between his family in Ajmer and its collaterals, and in the violence that ensued one person was killed. Among others, Dr. Chishty was also implicated.
Appeal still pending
The criminal case was kept pending for 18 years, during which period Dr. Chishty was granted bail but with a stringent condition that he should not leave Ajmer and should abide by some other conditions. In 2010, the accused, including Dr. Chishty, were convicted under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and given life sentence. His appeal before the Rajasthan High Court was still pending, but his bail application had been rejected.
Justice Katju said: “One does not know when the appeal will be heard and in the meantime Dr. Chishty may die in jail since he is so old that he has to be physically carried. He is also a heart patient and has a hip fracture. It will be a disgrace for our country if he dies in jail. I am not commenting anything on the merits of the case as it is a judicial proceeding. However, apart from the judicial proceeding, there is the executive power in the President and the Governor to grant a pardon.”
‘Papers with
Home Minister'
The judge said: “Mahesh Bhatt [filmmaker] and others have appealed to the President under Article 72 of the Constitution, as well as to the Governor of Rajasthan under Article 161 to grant a pardon, so that he may spend the last days of his life in his home in Karachi. I join them in this appeal. The relevant papers are with the Home Minister, Mr. Chidambaram.”
To drive home the point that the Prime Minister could intervene in a pending case, Justice Katju said: “It has been held by the Supreme Court in [the case of] Nanavati vs. State of Bombay that pardon can be granted even when a case is pending. Please, therefore, do the needful in this connection. Time is of the essence of the matter since Dr. Chishty has not many years to live. Needless to mention, if a pardon is granted it will enhance the prestige of India.”

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