There is an outpouring of gratitude in India for the role played by Pakistanis, led by Ansar Burney, in getting freed Indian sailors from Somali pirates. But from the Governor Rajasthan, on whose desk the mercy petition for Dr Khaleel Chishty sits waiting for his signature, there is deafening silence. Fed up of the constant wait and wanting to dispel any ideas that the Governors power’s were limited if there is an appeal in the high court, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) sent the following letter. Which is also apparently sitting on his desk.
PEOPLE’ S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES, RAJASTHAN
WE PLEAD TO YOU TO SIGN THE MERCY PLEA OF
Dr. KHALIL CHISHTY
PENDENCY CASE IN THE HIGH COURT CANNOT BE AN IMPEDIMENT TO THE POWER OF THE GOVERNOR TO GRANT PARDON–SC in the Nanavaty case AIR 1961 S.C 112 (five judge bench)
24th June, 2011
His Excellency Sh. Shivraj Patil,
Governor of Rajasthan,
We would like to appeal to you to urgently sign the mercy petition of Dr. Khalil Chishty who is presently lodged in Ajmer Jail. As you are aware, the protracted trial in Dr. Chishty’s case which began in 1992 took more than 18 years, reaching a conclusion only in January, 31st 2011. It is sad that he was trebly punished first for being falsely charged, secondly for the long delay of the Indian judicial system and thirdly as this renowned virologist’s knowledge was never put to use in Ajmer or in any part of India and his dream of starting a international level Institute of Virology in Pakistan was never fulfilled. Apart from the fact that he remains separated from his country, his home and loved ones.
In the period of 19 years, since 1992 April 14th, the day which changed his life, Dr. Chishty, he may have not been lodged in Ajmer Jail, as he was out on bail, but he was living a life of a desolate on his brother’s farm outside the city, regularly appearing at the police station and the court as an accused and as an undertrial. In the last 18 years, he met his family members only about six to seven time only.
You are well aware that Dr. Chishty is an Ajmer born Pakistani, who studied in Government High School in Ajmer and went to a distinguished college in Karachi to study science along with his elder brother. This was around the time of partition so he stayed on as he was still studying. The family got divided in this turbulent period with the parents and the younger brother staying on in Ajmer and the elder two sons continuing in Karachi.
As you are well aware that you are well within the law to sign his mercy petition even though his appeal may be pending in the Rajasthan High Court. While there may have been some judgements where the SC may have pointed out to the Governor to take a note of a pending appeal, but those were two Judge benches, like in the Narayan Dutt case of 2011.
The settled law is from judgment in the Nanavati’s case A.I.R.1961 S. C.112 which is of a bench of 5 Judges. As you are well aware that the decision of a larger bench prevails over that of a smaller bench. In paragraph 21 of Nanavati’s case it is stated :”There can be no doubt that it is open to the Governor to grant a full pardon at any time even during the pendency of the case in this Court in exercise of what is ordinarily called ‘mercy jurisdiction ‘. Hence the pendency of an appeal in the High Court cannot be an impediment to the power of the Governor to grant a pardon.
In all humbleness we plead to you to grant him mercy at the earliest and pave the way for his return back to his country and home. We are very hopeful that this historic decision will be taken by you without any delay.
Prem Krishan Sharma (President),
Kavita Srivastava (General Secretary),
Radha Kant Saxena (Vice President),
D.L. Tripathi (Vice President),
Ramesh Nandwana (Vice President),
Nishat Hussein (Vice President),
P.L. Mimroth (Vice President),
Maulana Hanif (Vice President),
P R Sharma (Treasurer),
Sawai Singh (Organising Secretary),
Anant Bhatnagar (Organising Secretary),
Dr. Narendra Gupta (Executive Member),
Khemraj (Executive Member),
Kailash Meena (Executive Member),
Mewa Bharti ( Executive Member),
Than Singh (Former President),
76, Shanti Niketan Colony, Kisan Marg, Jaipur- 302015
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