SC bars carrying out death penalty for mentally ill inmates
News Desk :
ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday said if a prisoner on death row is unable to comprehend the rationale behind his punishment due to a mental disorder, carrying out a death sentence does not “meet the end of the justice”.
The apex court announced the verdict after reserving its judgment on whether mentally ill death-row prisoners can be executed.
Headed by Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, a five-judge bench announced the judgment at the Lahore registry. Other members of the bench included Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah.
The bench had on Jan 7, 2021, reserved its verdict after marathon hearings on three appeals pertaining to as many mentally ill prisoners on death row amid a consensus from the amicus curiae and advocate generals that such inmates should not be executed.
The appeals had been filed on the behalf of Kanizan Bibi, Imdad Ali and Ghulam Abbas who have spent 30, 18 and 14 years on death row, respectively, while exhibiting acute symptoms of mental illness.
The petitioners were represented by Syed Iqbal Hussain Shah Gillani, Barrister Hashim, Barrister Jugnoo Kazim, Maria Kazmi, Qasim Ali Chohan, Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar Sidhu, Dr Faria Munawar and Zahid Bhatti.
In its judgement, the court commuted the death sentences of Kanizan Bibi and Imdad Ali to life imprisonment.
Meanwhile, the court directed a fresh mercy petition to be prepared on behalf of Ghulam Abbas, stating that there was nothing on record to show whether mental illness was taken into consideration while dismissing an earlier plea.
The petition is to be prepared in accordance with the relevant Prison Rules and submitted to the president.
SC bars death penalty for mentally ill inmates