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[Sister Abhaya Murder Case] Not Happy With Petitioner's Conduct: Kerala High Court In Plea Challenging Convicts' Release On Parole

Hannah M Varghese
8 Oct 2021 5:02 AM GMT
[Sister Abhaya Murder Case] Not Happy With Petitioners Conduct: Kerala High Court In Plea Challenging Convicts Release On Parole
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The Kerala High Court on Thursday warned to impose costs on the petitioner who challenged the order that released the convicts in the Sister Abhaya murder case on parole earlier this year.A division bench comprising Justice K. Vinod Chandran and Justice Ziyad Rahman remarked:"We are not happy with the conduct of the petitioner. Every statement filed here reaches the media before it...

The Kerala High Court on Thursday warned to impose costs on the petitioner who challenged the order that released the convicts in the Sister Abhaya murder case on parole earlier this year.

A division bench comprising Justice K. Vinod Chandran and Justice Ziyad Rahman remarked:

"We are not happy with the conduct of the petitioner. Every statement filed here reaches the media before it reaches the Court. If we find malafide intention behind this petition, we are warning you, we will impose costs."

The petitioner urged that the case may be closed since the convicts were already back in jail after parole. However, the bench refused to close it unless the petitioner chose to withdraw the plea. 

The Court also noted that it needed to see by which order the culprits herein were released on bail. 

Prisoners were released based on a General Order and the recommendations of the High-Powered Committee. According to the High Powered Committee, prisoners sentenced to up to 7 years were entitled to be released on parole. However, the convicts, in this case, were sentenced to life imprisonment.  

The Court said it was important to know by which Order they were released since one of the orders was recently stayed by the Supreme Court.   

"This is not concerned with the High Power Commitee. They do not come under that since they were life convicts. If they were released via the general order, and not from the decision of the Supreme Court, they should be released on parole because it was stayed."

The matter has been listed on Monday for clarification.

Background:

Sister Abhaya was a 21-year-old Catholic nun, and an inmate of St. Pius Xth Convent Hostel, Kottayam pursuing her degree from the BCM College. Her body was found in a well on 28th March 1992 with a head injury at the rear of her head.

Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy were found guilty of the murder after 28 years of investigation. Thereby, the Court convicted the accused in 2020 based on seventeen categoric circumstances. Accordingly, they were sentenced to life imprisonment.

The petitioner is a Human Rights Activist and was a prosecution witness in the case before the Additional Sessions Court.

After a prolonged investigation, the Special Court had found Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy guilty of murder and sentenced both the accused to life imprisonment among other penalties by an order dated 23rd December 2020.

However, shortly after, on 11th and 12th May 2021 respectively, the said accused were released on parole by the Superintendents concerned in furtherance of the orders issued by the Director-General of Prisons & Correctional Services.

When the same was questioned, the petitioner was allegedly informed that the said order was issued upon the recommendations of the High-Powered Committee and various Government Orders issued based on the directions laid by the Supreme Court in In Re: Contagion of Covid 19 Virus In Prisons.

Case Title: Jomon Puthenpurackal vs. State of Kerala & Ors.

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