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Nithari: Koli sentence commuted to life

Nithari serial killer Surendra Koli has managed to get relief from Allahabad High Court. The death sentence of Surender Koli, convicted in 2006 was on Wednesday commuted to life imprisonment on the ground of “inordinate delay” in deciding his mercy petition. A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P K S Baghel held that execution of Koli’s death sentence would be “unconstitutional in view of the inordinate delay” in deciding his mercy petition.

The order came on a Public Interest Litigation filed by NGO People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) which contended that the period elapsed in disposal of Koli’s mercy petition was “3 years and 3 months” and, as such, execution of death sentence would be in violation of the Right to Life granted in Article 21 of the Constitution.

A petition filed later by Koli himself, challenging the death sentence on the same ground as the one stated in the PIL, has also been clubbed with it. The death sentence was awarded to him by a special CBI court at Ghaziabad on February 13, 2009.

The PIL was filed on October 31 last year, three days after the Supreme Court rejected Koli’s recall application. The death warrant issued by the trial court on September 2 had fixed September 12 as the date of hanging, though its execution was stayed in view of the apex court’s decision to hear the recall application.

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