Nithari killings: SC issues notice to Koli

New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Nithari killings’ convict Surender Koli on an Uttar Pradesh government plea seeking restoration of death sentence in Rimpa Haldar case – one of the 14 cases of rape and killings in the village in Noida bordering Delhi.

A bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Amitava Roy issued notice to Koli and others on the state government plea challenging an Allahabad High Court verdict commuting his death sentence to life imprisonment in Rimpa Haldar case on the grounds of delay in deciding his mercy petition by the president.

The Uttar Pradesh government contended that the offences committed by Koli were heinous in the extreme.

A bench of Chief Justice Dattu, Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice S.A. Bobde, had on October 28, while rejecting Koli’s plea seeking recall of the apex court verdict upholding his death sentence in Rimpa Haldar case, said that “we are fully satisfied that this court has not committed any error that may persuade us to review the order” upholding his death sentence.

Incidentally this was the first case of the open court hearing by a bench of three judges of review petition seeking revisiting of the verdict upholding the death sentence.

The apex court had on July 24 last year rejected Koli’s plea seeking the recall of its February 15, 2011 order upholding his death sentence in one of the 14 cases of rape and killing being faced by him.

However, the court again heard his plea following a September 2 constitution bench decision allowing an open court hearing of the review petition by a bench of three judges.

The constitution bench had said: “It (the decision of open court hearing of review petitions) will also apply where a reviewApetition is already dismissed but the death sentence is not executed so far. In such cases, the petitioners can apply for the reopening of their review petition within one month from the date of this judgment.”

The execution of Koli’s death sentence that was to take place on September 8, 2014, was stayed hours before in a post mid-night hearing. Subsequently it was further stayed till October 29 by the court on September 12 as it decided to hold the open court hearing on October 28.

The bench of (then) Justice Dattu and Justice Dave on July 24 had rejected the review plea holding that it was moved long after his death sentence was upheld by the apex court.

President Pranab Mukherjee in July 2014 had also rejectedAKoli’s mercyAplea.

The Nithari killings came to light after the horrific discovery in December 2009 of body parts in a drain behind businessman M.S. Pandher’s bungalow and found to be of the 19 young women and children from Nithari village allegedly raped and killed by Koli, who served Pandher, in the bungalow.

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