New Delhi, Aug 13 (ILNS) The Supreme Court today, while dismissing two petitions by two convicts challenging their conviction after 19 years of incarceration, drew general directions to Uttar Pradesh State Legal Service Authorities to ensure that all panel advocates should visit the jail and advise the convicts about their legal rights and assist them in drafting the application to pursue their remedy of premature release.
A bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah, directed that NALSA should issue directions to all the State Legal Service Authorities to ensure the same is followed. Two Special Leave Petitions were filed from jail against a common judgment by the two accused who were convicted for murder in 2005 at district Aligarh. Thereafter, the High Court of Allahabad affirmed their conviction.
Advocate Rajiv Nanda who was appointed as the Amicus Curiae by the court observed that things were hunky-dory as far as prosecution was concerned. He submitted that the Prosecution was right and apart from few contradictions like the report of police which was sent to the magistrate after 3 days and not as per section 157 CrPC;. Further the trial court without any record stated that may be there was holiday in between. He also stated that the deceased was a Muslim but as per the Post-Mortem report there was no circumcision. The bench however stated that since there are two eye witnesses such minor contradictions can be overlooked.
The Bench in view of the facts of the aforesaid case observed that convicts are incarcerated for 20-30 years without knowing that they have a legal right to file application through Jail authorities for premature release, but due to the lack of awareness and knowledge of their rights, many convicts spend their lives behind the bars.
Justice MR Shah on this issue stated his personal experience when he was at Gujarat High Court where he saw convicts incarcerated for 30 years not knowing that they have a remedy.
Mr. Nanda, the Amicus Curiae, requested the bench to pass a general order directing the jail authorities to inform the accused about their legal rights. He also stated that a general direction may be passed so that those unaware about their rights are informed well enough to pursue remedy before the concerned courts. He also requested that the apex court may direct all the State authorities along with NALSA and UttarPradesh State Legal Service Authority for the benefit of life convicts who are unable to access Justice.
The bench while dismissing the appeal of the two convicts directed the Jail Authorities to inform the two convicts about the remedy of premature release and further passed a general direction in the interest of justice for those unaware about their rights.ILNS/AK/KR/SNG