Court defers decision on his plea to visit country

The 82-year-old Pakistani microbiologist, now on bail in Ajmer in a murder case, will have to wait till Thursday to know whether he can visit his country as the Supreme Court on Monday deferred its decision on the matter until then.

The Centre objected to Dr. Mohammed Khalil Chishti going to Pakistan, even temporarily, stating there was a likelihood of his not returning as the two countries did not have any agreement that ensured the return of a prisoner out on bail. “Merely because he is a Pakistani, can we treat him differently? We can understand if you say he has links with some terrorist organisation … Let him go and come back. Some times we have to be optimistic,” said the court.

The Bench asked the Centre's counsel to get instructions from the Home and External Affairs Ministries on the conditions that could be imposed on Dr. Chishti, pending disposal of his appeal against his conviction.

In 1992, when Dr. Chishti visited Ajmer to see his ailing mother, he was involved in a scuffle, in his brother's house, in which a relative died. He was convicted and sentenced to life by the trial court and this order was confirmed by the Rajasthan High Court.

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