Ram Kumar died of cancer in Jaipur Central Jail, waiting for the Governor to grant him mercy and Dr. Khalil Chishty waits in Ajmer Jail while his file sits with the Governor for several weeks now!
The Governor of Rajasthan Sh. Shivraj Patil’s attitude towards exercising his powers of granting mercy to convicted prisoners is absolutely negative. Article 161 of the Constitution of India confers “on the Governor of a State the right to grant pardons, remissions, reprieves or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the State extends.”
Every Governor in Rajasthan in the past has exercised his or her power to grant clemency to prisoners. Shri Shivraj Patil took over as Governor on 12 April 2010. Since then two mercy petitions of genuine cases have been placed before him so that he could exercise his power under Article 161 of the Constitution of India and ensure relief to the convicted prisoners. The PUCL has studied both the cases from the day of initiation of the petition to the present date. We have combed through note sheets of the concerned files, copies of which were obtained by us through RTI.
One of these cases is of Ram Kumar who was lodged at central jail in Jaipur and the other is of Dr. Khaleel Chishty, a Pakistani national lodged in Ajmer jail.
After spending 11 years and one month in Jail as a convicted prisoner, 70 year old Ram Kumar Saini’s application reached the Governor’s office for remitting the rest of his sentence. Ram Kumar Saini said in his application written on 5th October, 2010, that he wanted to spend the last few days of his life with his family. Doctors had made it amply clear that the lung cancer with which he was suffering for a year now, was in an advanced stage, and thus there was no hope left for survival. Seeing the urgency of the situation, between 5th and 19th of October, 2010, the file moved through the hands of the DG Jails, Additional Secretary Home, Chief Secretary, State Minister, Jails and the Chief Minister, and it was received by the office of the Principal Secretary, Governor on the 21 October 2010.
The Principal Secretary of the Governor sent back the file the first time on the 30th of November 2010, stating that after discussion with the Governor, he had accordingly ordered that on perusal of the documents it appears that the Medical Board that had examined Ram Kumar had not been provided with the original copies of the medical reports and also that the file sent to him (the Governor) also did not have the original copies of the medical record. So the file was being returned with the order that the original copies of the Medical Record be placed in front of the Medical Board for a fresh opinion and the file be returned to the Governor with the original papers for the scrutiny of the Governor.
The second time round, the file moved from the DG Jails on 27th December, 2011 after complying with what the Governor had asked. The original records were placed in front of the medical board, one member, the oncologist specialist was on leave. The Senior Doctor in the board reiterated the same diagnosis as earlier that “the Patient with Metastatic Adeno Carcenoma of the lungs has usually shown survival of few months and less than 5 percent patients of this stage of disease survive for more than 12 months after diagnosis.” The DG Jails also provided all the original medical reports in the mercy petition file as asked by the Governor.
The Governor once again returned the file to the Home and Jail departments on the 10th of January stating that the file should be sent back to him after a fresh opinion of the medical condition of the patient. On 9th February, 2011 the case was closed as Ram Kumar died in Hospital on the 16th of January, 2011. Given at the end of this release are date-wise developments in Ram Kumar’s case. A perusal of the chronology is shocking. It shows dismal journeys of mercy petitions in front of this Governor, which actually end up becoming tools for further torture of old convicts in their last moments.
A Heartless Governor
In the case of Ram Kumar, the long drawn-out process went through the hands of the District Collector and Police authorities, then the Medical authorities, the Jail authorities, the Home Department, the Chief Secretary and the Ministerial and Chief Ministerial levels, all of them recommending his release and also emphasising urgent action on the file. One fails to understand as to why the Governor first wanted an opinion of the Medical Board on the basis of them perusing the original medical reports, which too too wanted to see. After this was complied with, he again sent back the file saying that a fresh opinion from the complete board was needed.
It clearly implies that either he doesn’t believe in the apparatus of the executive of which he is the titular head, or that his interest and intent was to just let the matter linger on to the extent that the concerned convict breathes his last. It goes to prove what a heartless and inhuman Governor has been foisted on the people of the State.
One convict has died and another, Dr. Khaleel Chishty, who has been waiting for his release from Jail since May 2011 is also losing hope. He told his wife and daughter when they met him that now he could rest in peace as he had met them. The Governor has indulged in similar tactics this time round too. He sent back the file in July 2011 with a 10 pages long list objections, which were replied and the file sent back to him towards the end of October. It is more than six weeks since the file has been sitting with him. This is in spite of appeals made by a former Supreme Court Judge and observations by the Prime Minister and the Home Minister of India.
The PUCL condemns this attitude of the Governor and we earnestly demand that it is time that such an insensitive Governor was changed. The PUCL has a list of more than 414 prisoners in the State above the age of 60 years who are sick or suffering with old age ailments. The oldest one Umar Mohammed, 90 years of age in Tonk and the other Badlu Ram 87 years old in Alwar, both languishing in the respective district Jails. .
The Governor’s shabby treatment of the two mercy petitions sent in 2010 and 2011 have made us resolve that we will now advise that mercy petitions be sent to the President of India and not this Governor of Rajasthan. The latter does not understand the quality of mercy.
The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings.
But mercy is above this sceptered sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute of God himself;
And earthly power doth then show like God’s
When mercy seasons justice.
These words on mercy are from The Merchant of Venice, first performed in 1596 and published in 1600, when Portia speaks to Shylock in Act IV, Scene I.
Prem Krishan Sharma (President), Aruna Roy (Vice President), Kavita Srivastava ( General Secretary)
From Kafila archives:
- November 28, 2011: A case for remission of punishment of Dr Khaleel Chishty under Article 161 of the Constitution of India
- November 19, 2011: Dr Chishty’s family in Ajmer to apeal for his release
- October 10, 2011: Gopal Das is free, Khaleel Chishty is not
- September 7, 2011: Bring Dr Chishty home – alive
- June 19, 2011: Dr Khaleel Chishty will finally be free
- April 17, 2011: Free Dr Khaleel Chishty: Amna Chishty
Date-wise developments in Ram Kumar’s case:
The date wise developments in these cases are as under :-
|12/07/1989||Ram Kumar of Dhaba Ki Dhani, Jhunjhunu commits the murder of Sher Singh on a land issue. Case number 120/ 89 was lodged at Police station Pilani, District Jhunjhunu. He is booked as an accused with five others.|
|1/12/1989||The accused are charge sheeted.|
|21/06/1996||Ramkumar s/o Surjaram and two others are charged with murder in the Additional Session Court in Jhunjhunu as three died in the course of it coming for trial. .|
|11/11/1999||Ramkumar along with two others are convicted u/s 148, 302, 325, 149, 324, 323 IPC along with two others by the Additional Sessions Court, Jhunjhunu.|
|14/06/2008||Process of laboratory tests of Ram Kumar’s ailments begin|
|30/7/2008||Ramkumar is diagnosed with Metastatic Adeno Carcinoma in the lungs|
|August 2008 to March 20010||Subjected to 6 sessions of Chemotherapy.|
|8.05. 2010 to 17.06.2010||Subjected to Radiotherapy sessions|
|24/05/2010||Chandan Kumar Saini grandson writes to the District Collecotor Jhunjhunu regarding initiating the process of granting mercy of Ram Kumar.|
|28/05/2010||District Collector moves the application to Jaipur Jail Superintendent asking him to initiate the process|
|19/7/2010||The Superintendent of Police Jhunjhunu also recommends the pardoning and release of Ramkumar.|
|12/8/2010||The District Magistrate recommends the release of Ram Kumar|
|5/10/2010||Ramkumar’s writes his formal application to the Governor Shiv Raj Patil requesting mercy so that he can spend his last days with his family.
|5/10/2010||On the same day the Superintendent of Police (jail) also sends his covering letter and completed documents to the DG Jails|
|12/10/2011||Director General Jails Rajasthan sends the entire case document to the Additonal Chief Secretary for early release to Ram Kumar.|
|14/10/2010||Mercy petition is moved by the on OSD (Jail) of the Home Department.|
|14/10/2010 to 20/10/2010||ACS Home clears it that day itself . Following which the file is cleared by all three the Chief Secretary, the State Minister for Jails and the Chief Minister.|
|21/10/2010||The File of the Mercy Petition reaches the office of the Principal Secretary of the Governor and the Deputy Secretary to the Governor makes a noting that the matter was urgent and required early processing|
|30/11/2010||The Governor sent back the petition to the ACS Home stating that the Medical Board was provided with photo copies and asked for original reports of Ram Kumar be placed in front of the medical board for another opinion and original medical reports of the petitioner be attached to the file|
|2/12/2010||OSD Home (Jail) wrote to the Director General Jails asking for the original reports of Ram Kumar be placed in front of the medical board for another opinion and original medical reports of the petitioner be attached to the file.|
|23/12/2010||Director General Jails wrote back. to the Jaipur Jail authorities|
|27/12/2010||The Director General Jails states that the original reports were placed before the medical board. One of the Doctor’s Hemant Malhotra was on leave. So the senior most Doctor, Shiv Kochar, clearly stated the medical condition that a patient is in (suffering from Mestatic Adneno Carcenoma), Only patients persons with this illness survive longer than 12 months since the time of diagnosis. .|
|28/ 12/2011||The Petition is sent back to the Chief Secretary and from the CS to the Governor with original medical documents and the comments of the board member.|
|10/1/2011||The mercy petition file was sent back by the Governor the second time round on the grounds that a fresh opinion of the medical board needed to be taken.|
|16/1/2011||Ramkumar dies in SMS Hospital while undergoing treatment|
|9/2/2011||DG Jails informs that action on the file was not needed anymore.|