In a serious case of negligence, a convict languished in jail for 3 years even though he had secured bail in 2020. He was incarcerated for straight 3 years due to the negligence of jail authorities as they failed to open the bail order sent by the High Court Registry as an email attachment.
The Division bench comprising Justice AS Supehia and Justice MR Mengdey directed the State to pay a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the 27-year-old convict Chandanji Thakor after he filed another application.
The bench stated, “In the present case, the registry of this Court had categorically informed the jail authorities about the 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.”
The Court also noted that even though the order was sent to the District Sessions Court too, the Court didn’t make any efforts to check whether the order was implemented appropriately or not.
The Court said, “The present case is an eye opener.”
Chandanji was sentenced to life imprisonment in case of a murder and his sentence was suspended on September 29, 2020.
The High Court Registry had sent the order to jail authorities as well. The jail authorities stated that they didn’t notice e-mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the order passed by the Court was not implemented.
They submitted that they failed to act on the order due to the pandemic and were not able to open the attachment in the email sent by the Registry.
The Court also highlighted the negligence on the part of the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) to point out the suspension of the sentence to jail authorities.
The convict continued to stay in jail even after getting the bail due to remissness by prison authorities.
“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 passed by this Court,” the Court said.
The Court has ordered the State to pay the compensation amount within the next 14 days. The Court directed all the DLSAs to collect data of all prisoners who have been granted bail but may not have been released yet.
The bench listed the matter for hearing on October 18 and said, “The DLSA shall collect the reasons for their not having been released either for want of surety or non-execution of the jail bonds or for any other reason.”