SC frees Pak doc of murder charge
Pakistani microbiologist Khalil Chisti on Wednesday got a major relief when the Supreme Court freed him of a murder charge in a 20-year-old case and allowed him to return home in Karachi.
The apex court, however, upheld his conviction for voluntarily causing hurt and awarded him the punishment that he had already served by being in jail. Chisti expressed his gratitude to god and the Supreme Court for the “fair judgment.”
“I have lost my youth, the prime of my life when I would have done so many things with my qualification,” a frail-looking doctor told reporters. Chisti said he would want his family—comprising five daughters, one son and 31 grandchildren—to come together for a celebration on his return to Pakistan.
In their verdict, a bench of Justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi modified the conviction and sentence awarded to Chisti, 82, by holding him guilty under Section 324 (voluntary causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code for his “individual act” of using a sword in the “free-fight” situation.
The penal provision carries three years in jail, with or without fine.
“Taking note of his age and of the fact that he was in custody for roughly one year and four months, we feel that the ends of justice would be met by altering the sentence to the period already undergone,” the bench said.
Chisti came to Ajmer from Karachi to see his ailing mother in 1992. During his stay, he got involved in a fight with neighbours over a property, leading to shooting down of one person named Idris Chisti.
The Ajmer-born scientist had remained in confines after his arrest in the case. The trial court on January 31, last year, held him guilty and awarded life term in a judgment which was later upheld by the Rajasthan High Court.
Ban on endosulfan to stay
The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to grant immediate relief to Pesticide Manufacturers Association seeking reconsideration of the interim ban imposed on production and use of endosulfan across the country.
A bench of Justices Swatanter Kumar and Madan B Lokur said that they would hear the plea after seeking response from different stakeholders on an experts committee’s report, recommending phasing out of the pesticide within two years.
Senior advocate Jahangir Mistry, appearing for the association, said an “overnight” ban on the production and use of endosulfan was imposed by the apex court on May 13, 2011.
Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for Kerala, submitted that it could not be allowed in view of the health hazards. Observing that “there is no definite opinion by the committee whether it should be banned or not,” the court posted the matter for further hearing for January 8.
PIL on medicine subsidy
The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought centre’s response on a PIL seeking direction to adopt the AIIMS model for distribution of medicines and surgical equipment at below 50 per cent of their retail price to the people.
A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya admitted to hear the petition filed by Kolkata-based Avishek Goenka, alleging that drugs were being sold at inflated prices making big companies and retailers to pocket “unjustified” money from the people.