Mumbai: Hearing petitions filed by two women convicts, aged 80 and 90, seeking premature release on health grounds, the Bombay High Court has asked Kolhapur Central Jail Superintendent to take them to the prison hospital and get them examined by the Civil Surgeon of Kolhapur.
A bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S S Shinde directed that the Civil Surgeon of Kolhapur or a medical officer deputed by him should examine the petitioners.
The Court further directed the authorities to submit a report on December 18 in a sealed envelope after making health assessment of the petitioners.
The Court was hearing a petition filed by Champa Kamble, 90, and Hausabai Kohli, 80, who claimed premature release on health ground by invoking clause (ii) of Rule 27 of Maharashtra Prisons (Review of Sentences) Rules.
Kamble had pleaded that she wanted to spend rest of her life with her near and dear ones. Hausabai, convicted for murdering her daughter-in-law for dowry, has spent 17 years in jail. She pleaded that her daughter and grandson were keen to take her home. Both wrote letters from Kolhapur Jail where they are undergoing the sentence.
Earlier, the Court had asked the State to take a stand on the plea made by Kamble and Kohli for premature release. However, the State informed the Court that the Governor K Sankaranarayanan had rejected their plea.
Kamble and Kohli then challenged the communication dated October 22 by which rejection of their prayer for release was communicated to them.
Advocate Arfan Sait, who was appointed by the High Court’s legal aid cell, said under the Maharashtra Prison Review of Sentence Rules, 1972, a medical officer can recommend early release of a convict on the ground that he or she is suffering from illness which may aggravate the condition or result in death.
The Petitioners relied upon the Health Report dated January, 31, 2012 issued by the Medical Officer attached to Kolhapur Central Prison, Kalamba. In Clause 10 of the said reports, it is recorded that general condition of the Petitioners was weak and poor due to old age. It is stated that the Petitioners were bedridden and may die in few days.
It was pointed out to the Court that as of 31st January, including remissions, Kamble has undergone sentence for 7 years and 26 days. A certificate to that effect issued by the Superintendent of Kolhapur Central Jail. In case of Kohli, it was stated that she had served 17 years, one month and 22 days in jail.
Kamble also mentioned that Additional Superintendent of Police, Sangli, had recorded no objection for her premature release from jail. She also referred to another communication issued by Civil Surgeon to Superintendent of Kolhapur Central Jail dated February 2, 2011, in which it was stated the physical condition of the petitioner was weak.
The Judges, however, felt that before the petition was considered on merits it was desirable that the petitioners should be examined and an assessment of their health be made to enable the Court to resolve the issue raised in the petitions.