Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Khalil Chisti gets bail

On 9/4/2012 Supreme Court granted bail to Khalil Chisti, a man sentenced to life for murder of one person. It had referred to the goodwill generated by Asif Ali Zardari’s visit the previous day and hoped it would continue. The event makes one wonder whether India is governed by rule of law.

It is immaterial that Khalil Chisti is a Pakistani and the victim is an Indian. It is immaterial that Khalil Chisti is 80 years old and not in good health. What is material is that he is convicted of murder and serves life sentence.

Asif Ali Zardari’s visit should not have had any bearing on Khalil Chisti’s case. When did Khalil Chisti apply for bail? Was it before 9/4/2012 or on 9/4/2012? If it was before 9/4/2012 after how many days the court took up the matter? If Zardari visit had gone wrong and both sides had blamed each other what would have been the verdict on bail plea?

Someone said Khalil Chisti had spent 20 years in jail. If he had been convicted within three years he would have been out of jail. The court was aware of his time in jail. Life sentence does not mean a prisoner has to be released after 14 or 20 years.

Judiciary is for judgments as per law. Judicial pronouncements should not be influenced by political events or public relations. The issue of release of Khalil Chisti was discussed in June 2011. PM had written to Shivraj Patil, Governor of Rajasthan, to release Khalil Chisti. Shivraj Patil had sought legal advice and there the matter rested. PM did not seek presidential pardon to Khalil Chisti.

As a rule people serving life sentence are not granted bail. There are life convicts who get parole or spend time in hospital. Khalil Chisti case can be used by them to get bail. Their lawyers will not mention that Khalil Chisti was 80 years old and was in poor health. They will say he was a life convict and got bail by Supreme Court.

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