download-orderSupreme Court of India has issued a notice to Nithari murder convict – Surendra Koli and other parties against an Appeal SLP filed by the State of Uttar Pradesh against the 28 January 2015 order of the Allahabad High Court commuting his sentence of death shall to sentence of life imprisonment due to ‘inordinate delay’ in deciding his mercy petition.gallows

Notice was issued by a bench of Chief Justice HL Dattu, Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy on the state government plea contending that the offences committed by Koli were heinous in the extreme.

State of UP was represented by  Senior counsel L Nageswara Rao and Union of India was represented by Solicitor General of India Ranjit Kumar.

The impugned Allahabad High Court judgment was was passed by Chief justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Pradeep Kumar Singh Baghel on a PIL filed by Peoples’ Union for Democratic Rights and Koli.

Case No.  SLP (Crl) No. 5230-5231 of 2015
Case Title State of UP v. Surendra Koli & Anr.
Order Date 13 July 2015

Timeline

8 February 2005 Victim went missing
29 December 2006 Koli arrested
19 May 2007 Charges framed under  under Sections 302, 364 and 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 in Sessions Trial No 611 of 2007
13 February 2009 Additional Sessions Judge, Ghaziabad convicted Surendra Koli of offences under Sections 302, 364 and 376 read with Sections 511 and 201 and Section 120-B of the Penal Code and sentenced him to death.
11 September 2009 Conviction upheld and the sentence confirmed by Allahabad High Cour
15 February 2011 Supreme Court dismissed Koli’s Appeal by a bench of Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishradownload-judgment
3 May 2011 Additional Sessions Judge, Ghaziabad issued a warrant for the execution of the sentence of death under Sections 413 and 414 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Execution scheduled between 24 May 2011 and 31 May 2011 at 4.00 am
7 May 2011 Koli filed a mercy petition to the Governor of the State of Uttar Pradesh under Article 161 of the Constitution of India
2 April 2013 Governor rejects the mercy petition.
11 November 2013 Union Government sought information about the mercy petition
5 February 2014 Union Government issued reminder.
28 February 2014 District Magistrate submitted the information required by the Union Government
20 July 2014 President of India rejected mercy petition.
2 August 2014 Koli intimated of rejection
24 July 2014 Supreme Court rejected the review petition filed by Koli
2 September 2014 Supreme Court in Mohd Arif v Registrar, Supreme Court of India orders that all review petitions in matters pertaining to the death penalty shall be heard in open court
6 September 2014 Koli filed application for restoration of the review petition was filed in the registry of the Supreme Court
28 October 2014 Review Petition dismissed again.
2014 Petitions were filed by the Peoples’ Union for Democratic Rights and Koli in the Allahabad High Court  seeking a declaration that the execution of the sentence of death pursuant to the rejection of a mercy petition under Article 72 of the Constitution is unconstitutional and seeking a commutation of the sentence to imprisonment for life.
28 January 2015 Allahabad High court holds that the execution of the sentence of death on the convict Surendra Koli on the facts of this case would constitute an unconstitutional violation of his right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution. download-judgment

High Court order for commutation of death sentence was inter alia based on the following grounds:

  • There was a delay of three years and three months in disposing of the mercy petitions filed by the convict under Articles 72 and 161 of the Constitution…
  • The explanation of the State Government for the delay of 26 months is palpably unfounded and unsound.
  • There was, at the inception, a manifest misapplication by the State Government of the Government Order dated 13 April 2005 which, on its terms, did not apply to death convicts.
  • The Principal Secretary (Home) acted in excess of jurisdiction and proceeded to make an observation on merits recommending that the mercy petition be rejected.
  • The note prepared by the Legal Advisor to the Governor clearly ignored the position in law enunciated by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Kehar Singh’s case.
  • The convict, contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Sunil Batra (supra), was held in solitary confinement without a judicial order, even when he was not under an executable sentence of death, as construed by the Supreme Court.
  • In the facts of the present case, there has been no delay or dilatory tactics on the part of the convict nor has his conduct contributed to the delay on the part of the State Government in disposing of the mercy petition.

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