Indian Supreme Court admits petition against Dr Chishti's life imprisonment

Pakistani virologist Dr Khalil Chishti filed petition against Rajasthan High Court's order of upholding his sentence.


Aditi Phadnis February 25, 2012

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court of India admitted Pakistani virologist Khalil Chishti’s Special Leave Petition on Friday challenging Rajasthan High Court’s order of upholding his conviction for murder.

The Bench of Justice P Sathasivam and Justice J Chelameswar issued a notice to the Rajasthan Government asking it to file a reply in a fortnight. The petition was filed by senior counsel UU Lalit on behalf of Dr Chishti.

Dr Chishti, currently imprisoned at the Ajmer Jail, was convicted on January 31, 2011, for the murder of Sayyed Idris Chishti on the premises of the famous Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer back in 1992. Now through the petition, he is trying to get the December 2011 order of the Rajasthan High Court revoked.

Now nearly 80 years old, Dr Chishty is suffering from various serious ailments including ischemic heart disease, left ventricular failure and a hip fracture. His case, which caught the attention of human rights activists across the country last year, had led to an appeal for his clemency to the Rajasthan Governor under the provisions of Articles 72/161 of the Constitution. The Governor has not acted on the petition though the State Government had cleared it in May 2011.

Kavita Srivastava, general secretary of Rajasthan PUCL who spearheaded the campaign for Dr Chishti's release along with veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar and film-maker Mahesh Bhatt, pointed out that the deadline for appeal on the High Court judgment was March 20.

Dr Chishti's condition remained precarious in Ajmer Jail hospital though he was once brought to Jaipur Jail in January this year when the Committee of Parliamentarians from India and Pakistan visited it, Srivastava noted.

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