Right to live with dignity cannot be deprived merely because a person is convicted: Calcutta High Court

Author : Nimisha Nayak

Updated On : February 14, 2024

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In a landmark ruling, the High Court at Calcutta has underscored the inviolability of the right to live with dignity, even for those convicted, in the case of Mahuya Chakraborty vs. State of West Bengal. Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya delivered this pivotal judgment on January 5th, directing the West Bengal State Sentence Review Board (WBSSRB) to reconsider a petition for early release filed by the wife of a life-term convict.

The case revolves around Mahuya Chakraborty's challenge against the WBSSRB's initial refusal to grant her husband's premature release. The convict, serving a life sentence, has already spent over twenty years in prison. Justice Bhattacharyya emphasized that the length of incarceration already served should be a critical factor in considering early release.

Justice Bhattacharyya's order highlighted that the right to a dignified life, as protected under Article 21 of the Constitution, cannot be nullified by the fact of conviction. He observed, "The petitioner's husband has spent a considerable period behind bars. Depriving him of the opportunity to reintegrate into mainstream society, when eligible, would amount to a double punishment for the petitioner."

Chakraborty presented two key arguments in her challenge. Firstly, she claimed that the WBSSRB was not properly constituted when deciding on her husband's early release. Secondly, she contended that the Board failed to consider the Supreme Court's jurisprudence, which emphasizes the reformatory purpose of imprisonment.

The court criticized the WBSSRB for neglecting reports from prison officials regarding the convict's behavior and conduct during imprisonment. Additionally, Justice Bhattacharyya pointed out the lack of records showing the convict's engagement in socially beneficial activities or further education while incarcerated.

Justice Bhattacharyya also highlighted the inappropriate composition of the WBSSRB, calling for a thorough reassessment of the early release plea by a duly constituted Board. This decision reaffirms the evolving view on the purpose of imprisonment, recognizing that even convicts retain the right to live with dignity. The court's directive for a review of the early release application underscores the importance of adhering to established legal processes, ensuring fair and equitable treatment in the criminal justice system.

Right to live with dignity cannot be deprived merely because a person is convicted: Calcutta High Court

Author : Nimisha Nayak

February 14, 2024

SHARE

In a landmark ruling, the High Court at Calcutta has underscored the inviolability of the right to live with dignity, even for those convicted, in the case of Mahuya Chakraborty vs. State of West Bengal. Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya delivered this pivotal judgment on January 5th, directing the West Bengal State Sentence Review Board (WBSSRB) to reconsider a petition for early release filed by the wife of a life-term convict.

The case revolves around Mahuya Chakraborty's challenge against the WBSSRB's initial refusal to grant her husband's premature release. The convict, serving a life sentence, has already spent over twenty years in prison. Justice Bhattacharyya emphasized that the length of incarceration already served should be a critical factor in considering early release.

Justice Bhattacharyya's order highlighted that the right to a dignified life, as protected under Article 21 of the Constitution, cannot be nullified by the fact of conviction. He observed, "The petitioner's husband has spent a considerable period behind bars. Depriving him of the opportunity to reintegrate into mainstream society, when eligible, would amount to a double punishment for the petitioner."

Chakraborty presented two key arguments in her challenge. Firstly, she claimed that the WBSSRB was not properly constituted when deciding on her husband's early release. Secondly, she contended that the Board failed to consider the Supreme Court's jurisprudence, which emphasizes the reformatory purpose of imprisonment.

The court criticized the WBSSRB for neglecting reports from prison officials regarding the convict's behavior and conduct during imprisonment. Additionally, Justice Bhattacharyya pointed out the lack of records showing the convict's engagement in socially beneficial activities or further education while incarcerated.

Justice Bhattacharyya also highlighted the inappropriate composition of the WBSSRB, calling for a thorough reassessment of the early release plea by a duly constituted Board. This decision reaffirms the evolving view on the purpose of imprisonment, recognizing that even convicts retain the right to live with dignity. The court's directive for a review of the early release application underscores the importance of adhering to established legal processes, ensuring fair and equitable treatment in the criminal justice system.

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