Eighty-two year old Pakistani microbiologist Mohammed Khalil Chishti, facing life imprisonment in a 20-year-old murder case in Ajmer, may finally get to visit his home.
The SC on Monday indicated it may allow the octogenarian to go to Pakistan temporarily, under some conditions.
“Merely because he is a Pakistani, can we treat him differently? We can understand if you say he has links with some terrorist organisation,” said a bench headed by justice P Sathasivam who asked government counsel to be “optimistic” when the latter opposed Chisti’s visit saying there was no bilateral agreement between Pakistan and India to ensure return of a convict.
The bench posted the matter for hearing on May 10, giving two days to the home ministry and foreign ministry for submitting an inspection report on Chishti so that conditions could be imposed on him in case he is allowed to travel.
The court said it might permit Chishti to travel for six months and expedite hearing of his appeal challenging Rajasthan HC verdict upholding his conviction in the murder case. Justice Sathasivam observed orally that the court may take up the appeal in October or November.
The court’s direction came after the Centre objected to Chishti’s plea to travel to Pakistan temporarily. The counsel said the microbiologist may not return and that he was out on bail. As per the bail conditions Chishti can’t leave Ajmer.