Bombay HC orders prison authorities to extend assistance to death row inmates to continue education

Welcoming the decision of two death row inmates to pursue education, the Bombay High Court called on the prison authorities to “provide all necessary assistance by adopting a humanitarian approach as the applicants desire”.

A divisional bench consisting of judges PB Varale and SM Modak recently upheld the petition filed by Jitendra Shinde aka Pappu and Nitin Bhailume who are on death row for their role in the horrific 2016 Kopardi rape and murder case. are currently deposited at Yerawada Central. Pune prison.

The HC said: “We further observe that as the petitioners have expressed their desire to pursue an academic education at the Open University, this desire should be treated as a welcome step and the prison authorities should provide all necessary assistance. by adopting a humanitarian approach to the desire of the petitioners. .”

Shinde and Bhailume have expressed a desire to pursue their academic careers at open universities – Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University and Indira Gandhi National Open University – while incarcerated. So they approached HC in 2019.

An affidavit was filed by the Superintendent of Yerawada Central Jail, Pune on April 3, 2021, listing the courses offered by two open universities. He said the admissions process for the 2022-2023 academic year has not yet started at any of the universities. He, however, assured that as soon as the admission process is launched at the open university, the necessary steps will be taken to admit the petitioners.

Attorney Rebecca Gonsalvez, representing the convicts, argued that, in accordance with her instructions, the admissions process had already been initiated.

Following this, the HC ordered the prison authorities of Yerawada Central Prison to seek the necessary advice from the university officials regarding the admission process and to take appropriate measures for the admission of the accused during his choice.

The case

In 2016, three men brutally raped and murdered a 14-year-old girl in Kopardi village, Ahmednagar district. The Class 9 student was tortured so brutally that her hair was pulled out, her limbs and teeth were knocked out, and there were bite marks on her body.

The three culprits – Jitendra Babulal Shinde, 26, Santosh Gorakh Bhawal, 30, and Nitin Gopinath Bhailume, 28 – were found guilty of rape, murder and conspiracy and were sentenced to be hanged until death by the Ahmednagar District Court of Sessions in November. 2017.

As the victim belonged to the Maratha community, silent marches were organized by the Marathas across the state against the three culprits who belonged to the Dalit community. They demanded a speedy investigation and a speedy trial in this case.

The matter even rocked the Maharashtra Assembly during the monsoon session. Then-Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the defendants had been arrested and the case would be heard in a fast-track court.

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Posted: Friday, April 29, 2022, 6:57 PM IST

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