The Gujarat High Court castigated the Sabarmati jail authorities for their negligence in not releasing a life convict despite having been granted bail three years ago, as they could not open the attachment in the email.
A division bench of Justice A S Sephia and Justice M R Mengdey ordered the Gujarat government to pay Rs one lakh compensation to the hapless man, Chandanji alias Gato Chhanaji Thakor who suffered incarceration for three years for no fault of his.
The court expressed displeasure with the administrations of Mehsana sessions court and the Sabarmati jail for not paying heed to the email in which the ball order was sent for prisoner Chandanji Thakor, who was awarded life imprisonment in 2020 in a murder case.
"The present case is an eye opener," the bench said.
The bench noted that the HC had suspended Thakor's sentence in September 2020 and sent an email in this regard to the sessions court and the prison.
The Mehsana court didn't notice the mail, and while the jail authorities took note of it, they claimed, the attachment with the email containing the ball order could not be opened.
"Due to the remissness on the part of the jail authorities, the applicant, though was released by this Court on regular bail vide order dated 29.09.2020 in the appeal, remained incarcerated in the jail. During his incarceration period, his jail remarks show that he was released on temporary bail and furlough on few occasions also. The applicant, though was released and could have enjoyed his freedom, was forced to remain in jail only because no attention was paid by the jail authorities to contact the Registry or Sessions Court with regard to the order," the bench said.
Thakor approached the HC as there was no action by authorities despite the court suspending his sentence. After HC pulled up the authorities, Thakor was released on September 21.
On September 22, the HC ordered compensation for the prisoner and criticised the District Legal Services Author it for having failed to notice Thakor's release since it has been tasked with pointing out such cases to the court.
Looking at the seriousness of the issue, the HC directed the DLSA to collect data of such undertrial prisoners and convicts in whose favour bail orders have been passed, but they have not been released.
The bench noted in the case Registry of this court had categorically informed the jail authorities aboutthe order passed by this Court releasing the applicant on regular bail. It is not the case that such E-mail was not received by the jail authorities. It is the case of the jail authorities that necessary action could not be taken in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and though they have received the E-mail, they were unable to open the attachment.
It is also noticed that though the E-mail was sent to District Sessions Court, Mehsana, no efforts were made by the Court to see that the order, which is passed by the Division Bench of this Court releasing the convict on bail, is appropriately implemented and no follow-up was taken, it said.