‘Humanistic approach’: HC lets murder convict attend daughter’s wedding


Team Udayavani, Nov 2, 2021, 10:15 AM IST

Bengaluru: While granting parole of 15 days for a murder convict to attend his daughter’s wedding, the Karnataka High Court said that one can’t forget that every saint had a past and every sinner has a future, and the fact that a person is convicted and put behind bars, does not render him destitute of liberty and dignity.

A bench headed by Justice Krishna S. Dixit gave the order on October 26, but released only on Monday, after hearing the petition of a wife of Shyam a.k.a Raju Reddy a.k.a Prabhakar imprisoned in Belagavi Central Prison in connection with triple murder case.

Noting Shyam has been serving his sentence since 1999, the bench said: “A convict has to keep in contact with the civil society although sporadically, so that his societal roots, do not dry up when he languishes in jail; otherwise, when he returns from the prison after completing the term of sentence, he may be a total stranger and life may prove hard to him; this is not a happy thing to happen in a welfare state.”

The marriage of convict’s daughter is scheduled, and ordinarily every Hindu marriage involves certain rituals such as ‘Vivaah homa’ and ‘Kanyadaan’ that are done with the participation of the parents; even otherwise, when a young daughter is getting married, the presence of her father, is desirable, consistent with the humanitarian consideration which are inherent in Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the order said.

Mentioning Oscar Wilde’s poem “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”, the bench mentioned: “Compassion wherever possible and cruelty only where inevitable, is the art of correctional confinement” – the observation made by the apex court in Charles Sobhraj vs The Superintendent of Central Jail, Tihar case.

“After all, the standard of civilisation is measured by looking at how the state and civil society treat the criminals. The sublime feelings of spouse and children permeate the prison walls and reach out to the convict, however strong and unkindly they are built; therefore the court has to facilitate the presence and participation of the petitioner in the ensuing marriage ceremony; an otherwise stand of court, runs the risk of being branded as ‘inhuman’ by the right-thinking sections of the society to say the least,” the order read.

Rejecting the argument of the government counsel that a murder convict can’t ask for parole, the court, however, warned Shyam that he should not be involved in any crime and after the parole, he shall return to prison. It has also given direction in this regard to jail officials.

The convict has approached the High Court after jail authorities had rejected the request for parole to attend his daughter’s wedding on November 7 and 8.

(With inputs IANS)

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