2005 Patiala judge’s murder: HC grants interim bail to convicted doc - Hindustan Times
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2005 Patiala judge’s murder: HC grants interim bail to convicted doc

By, Chandigarh
Oct 01, 2023 11:01 PM IST

The Punjab and Haryana high court has granted interim bail to gynaecologist Dr Ravdeep Kaur, a convict in the murder of additional district and sessions judge Vijay Singh in 2005 in Patiala. The court also directed the government to consider her premature release plea.

The Punjab and Haryana high court has granted interim bail to gynaecologist Dr Ravdeep Kaur, a convict in the murder of additional district and sessions judge Vijay Singh in 2005 in Patiala.

The Punjab and Haryana high court
The Punjab and Haryana high court

The high court bench of justice Deepak Gupta also directed the government to consider her premature release plea and take a decision as per the 2011 policy on premature release of convicts after taking into account legal position discussed in this judgment.

Ravdeep Kaur (then 41) was arrested on October 18, 2005, five days after the murder of Vijay Singh (42) on October 13 night, who was out for a walk after dinner. In 2012, she was awarded life sentence along with Manjeet Singh, a contract killer hired for 5 lakh, by a trial court in Chandigarh.

The gynaecologist, who ran a maternity hospital in Patiala, was in a relationship with Vijay Singh, posted as the presiding officer of the labour courts, Chandigarh. Vijay Singh used to visit Patiala daily. After he turned down her offer of marrying her after divorcing his wife, Ravdeep Kaur got him murdered by a contract killer, Manjeet Singh, at high-security Polo Ground zone, which is at a stone’s throw from former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s residence, Moti Bagh palace.

She had moved the high court in April demanding that directions be issued to the government to grant her premature release as she had already completed the requisite period of sentence. Her appeal against the 2012 conviction is still pending before the high court.

The court held that her case of premature release cannot be withheld, simply for the reason of pendency of the appeal before the high court.

It further said as per the 2011 policy, a female convict is required to undergo actual imprisonment for a period of eight years and a total imprisonment with remission of 12 years, before her case is considered for premature release.

Ravdeep Kaur, as per the record produced before the high court, has undergone actual custody period of more than 17 years and two months and the total sentence, including the remission of 22 years and seven months, which is much more than minimum prescribed period of eight years of actual custody and 12 years of total imprisonment with remission.

The government had argued that her case cannot be considered for premature release as her sentence is “life imprisonment till her natural death”. The court, however, said order of the trial court in her case, with a rider to extend to full life, was in violation of a decision of the Supreme Court, wherein it held that such a sentence can be passed either by the high court or by the Supreme Court only.

The court, however, clarified that in case she is released prematurely and on disposal of the appeal by the high court, it is held that she was required to undergo imprisonment for life till her natural life, then she would have to surrender.

The government had also argued that she was convicted by a Patiala court for jumping the parole in 2014. She was on two-week parole in December 2014, but did not return and was arrested in February 2015 from Uttarakhand, when she was in the process of fleeing abroad. She was awarded three-year jail for the same in 2022. The court, however, said her sentence has been suspended by the appellate court in this case. The subsequent sentence is to run concurrently with the earlier sentence of life imprisonment, it said.

The government had also cited parole jump case and argued that prisoner’s conduct is also taken into account while considering premature release. To this, the court said conduct of the convict during the past five years is to be taken into account. In her case, the offence was committed in 2014, which is more than nine years ago.

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