SC refers plea seeking suspension of death sentence of mentally-ill Khizar Hayat to larger bench

SC refers plea seeking suspension of death sentence of mentally-ill Khizar Hayat to larger bench

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court on Monday referred appeal seeking suspension of the death sentence of mentally-ill prisoner Khizar Hayat to a larger bench for hearing, and adjourned for indefinite period.

A two-member bench comprising Justices Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Sardar Tariq Masood heard the appeal filed by Khizar Hahat’s mother Iqbal Bano.

On Saturday, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had taken notice of the issuing of a death warrant for Hayat and sought a report to ascertain his ailment, suspending his sentence until further orders.

He had also directed the law officer to verify whether the condemned prisoner was mentally ill.

On Monday hearing, Bano’s lawyer pleaded before the bench that the Supreme Court had halted executions in similar cases in the past.

To which, Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik remarked that why was not the this issue was mot raised during the trial and now when he is set to be punished, you people came to supreme court.

The lawyer said that, Hayat had been diagnosed with schizophrenia during the trial, adding that a six-member medical board had been set up in 2016 to examine his mental health and confirmed that he had a mental illness and in according to Section 444 of the jail rules, a person with a mental illness cannot be executed, the lawyer argued.

Then Justice Mamzoor turned to Dr. Mubashir and asked his “Do you believe that Hayat’s mental state is not right?”.

Responding to the bench query, Dr. said that “Khizar Hayat is suffering from a mental illness and for further satisfaction a medical board can be set up to examine his mental state.”

The jail official apprised the court that Hayat was being held at the hospital at Kot Lakhpat jail. Justice Malik observed that Hayat’s medical report is not clear and appeared wary that other convicts can start appealing against their convictions using mental illness as a pretext.

He said that “We’re sending the matter to a larger bench,”.

Subsequently the bench ordered that the appeal against Hayat’s execution be forwarded to a larger bench, and adjourned the case indefinitely.