The Delhi High Court has reduced the life term of a convict, who killed a 25-year-old man, to six years in jail to grant him an opportunity to reform and rehabilitate. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra, which upheld the conviction of the 41-year-old man, showed leniency in his sentence while considering that he has a wife and three children to look after.
“In the circumstances it is considered essential that the sentence imposed upon the accused/the offender/the appellant herein Ashok Bind acts as a deterrent and is simultaneously reformative with a prospect of rehabilitation,” it said. Besides modifying the jail term, the bench directed the Superintendent at the Tihar Jail, where Bind shall be incarcerated, to consider an appropriate programme from him like correctional courses through meditational therapy.
“Adequate counselling being provided to the appellant to be sensitised to understand why he was in prison,” it said. The court, however, upheld the Rs 10,000 fine imposed on Bind.
The order came on an appeal filed by Bind against the trial court’s September 2016 verdict by which he was held guilty of murdering a boy and sentenced to life imprisonment. As per the prosecution, Bind had killed the man, a resident of Deoria in Uttar Pradesh, on June 9, 2013 after he got annoyed on being denied a place to sit on a bench at New Delhi Railway Station where the victim was sleeping.
The convict had a quarrel with victim Uday Kumar’s friend after he refused to wake him up following which Ashok picked up a stone from a gutter nearby and assaulted Kumar, who was in deep sleep, the police had said. Kumar, who had come to Delhi along with his friend for Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSB) exams, was taken to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
Based on the circumstantial evidence, medical reports and the testimony of victim’s friend, the trial court had handed Bind a life term.
The high court, while deciding his appeal, took a lenient view and modified the sentence saying if it was feasible for jail authorities, the man should be given educational opportunity, vocational training and skill development programme to enable a livelihood option. It suggested post-release rehabilitation programme for the convict well in advance before the date of his release to make him self-dependent.
The bench said that Bind be protected from getting associated with anti-social groups, agencies of moral hazards (like gambling dens, drinking places and brothels) and with demoralised and deprived persons.
It also asked the jail authorities to allow Bind to keep contact with his family members as per the jail rules and in accordance with the Model Prison Manual.
“Furthermore, it is directed that a bi-annual report is submitted by the Superintendent, Tihar Jail, to this court till the date of release, of the measures being adopted for reformation and rehabilitation of the appellant,” the court said in its 32-page judgement.