Jaipur, Jun 21: A decision on the mercy petition of 80-year-old Pakistani prisoner Khalil Chishty is likely to take some time with the Rajasthan Governor today seeking more information on the case.
Governor Shivraj Patil held a discussion with Additional Chief Secretary (Home) P K Deb on the issue and sought more details and information from the home department. “Any decision on the mercy petition of Chishty will take some more time as the Governor has sought additional information which will be collected and sent back soon,” sources in the home department said.
The approval of the governor, who has power under Article 161 of the Constitution to remit a sentence, will pave the way for release of the Pakistani virologist who is in an Indian jail since 1992 in a murder case. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had yesterday asked Home Minister P Chidambaram to examine if the request of a Supreme Court judge for pardon to Chishty could be considered on “humanitarian” grounds.
Singh has forwarded to Chidambaram the letter of request received from Justice Markandeya Katju. “I shall be grateful if you could examine the request of Justice Katju to see if a pardon to Dr Khalil Chishty could be considered on humanitarian grounds,” the Prime Minister said in his letter to Chidambaram.
Justice Katju has made a “personal” appeal to Singh to release on “humanitarian grounds” Chishty, who is currently lodged in Ajmer Central Jail.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had forwarded the mercy petition to Raj Bhawan last week. The petition was submitted by Chishty's relatives and human rights activists before the home department in April with a request that the matter be dealt with expeditiously as Chishty's health was failing. Rights activists had filed the petition requesting remission of punishment on “humanitarian grounds” for Dr Khalil under Article 161 of the Constitution of India by the Governor.
A sessions court in Ajmer had awarded Chishty life sentence on January 31 this year in a murder case after an 18-year-long trial. He had also filed an appeal in the High Court but his bail plea was rejected.
“We are not going to be demoralised by this. We will continue working for the release and sending back Dr.Chishty home and meet all concerned and ensure an early release of him,” Kavita Srivastava, General Secretary of PUCL Rajasthan said.
Chishty had got involved in a fracas during his visit to Ajmer in 1992 to meet his ailing mother and in the melee one person was killed leading to his arrest.
During the trial period, the sessions court, which had granted him bail after few days of the incident, had ordered Chishty not to leave Ajmer and he was re-arrested after his conviction and during the bail period, he spent time at his brother's farm in Ajmer. PTI