Governor denies early release to aged murder convicts

Ball now in high court to decide cases on merit.

The state government told Bombay High Court (HC) recently that the governor had rejected pleas filed by two women convicts for premature release on the ground of age.

HC had asked the government on October 26 to decide the pleas of Hausabai Koli (80) and Champa Kamble (90) as early as possible. The murder convicts lodged in Kolhapur Central Jail had written to HC through jail authorities.

In response, the judges noted on October 26 the matter involved "grave urgency".

"Pleas of both women have been rejected by the governor. This means their cases will now be heard and decided on merit in court," said additional public prosecutor Poornima Kantharia, who brought on record a one-line order of rejection on October 31.

A division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Sadhana Jadhav has now asked lawyer Arfan Sait, appointed amicus curiae, to amend the petition to challenge the order of the governor.

Sait had earlier told the court a health report prepared by a medical officer of Kolhapur Central Prison had recommended premature release of Koli. He said under Maharashtra Prison Review of Sentence Rules, 1972, a medical officer could recommend early release of a convict on the ground of an illness that may aggravate and result in death.

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