HC rejects 1993 bomb blast convict’s plea for transfer to open prison | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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HC rejects 1993 bomb blast convict’s plea for transfer to open prison

Apr 18, 2023 01:00 AM IST

Bombay High Court upholds decision of Inspector General of Prisons, rejecting plea of Sardar Shahvali Khan, convicted in 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts, seeking transfer to open prison.

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has upheld the decision of the inspector general of prisons (IG) and rejected a plea filed by March 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts convict, Sardar Shahvali Khan, seeking a transfer to open prison.

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Khan, who is serving a life sentence, had moved the high court after the IG had rejected his plea on February 4, 2022, on the grounds that Khan was around 66 years of age, infirm and unfit for hard labour. Inmates in open prisons primarily work in agricultural fields. The IG had also claimed that Khan was convicted of a grave offence and hence, could not be sent to an open prison.

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The division bench of justice Mangesh Patil and justice Abhay Waghwase accepted the arguments advanced on behalf of the prison authorities. The bench said prisoners “convicted of grave offences and habitual offenders are excluded from the benefit of selection for open prison and the convicts under TADA can easily fit in such excluded category.”

As far as Khan’s physical fitness is concerned, the bench said that since 2000, Khan had been complaining of joint pains and doctors suspect that he is suffering from arthritis. The IG had taken his medical record into consideration, and therefore, the authority was justified in concluding that the convict was physically unfit for open prison.

Khan had contended that there was no medical certificate issued by any doctor which would prove that he was physically unfit.

Khan also claimed that there was no provision in the Open Prison Rules that said that the nature of the crime can be a factor in deciding whether a prisoner can be transferred to an open prison. Hence, just because he is a convict in a bomb blast case, he should not be deprived of the benefit of spending the rest of his prison term in an open prison, claimed Khan.

Jail authorities opposed Khan’s petition, pointing out that a prisoner had no inherent right to be shifted to an open prison. A public prosecutor also submitted that though there is no specific bar on sending convicts under the Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act to open prison, the prisoner was found physically unfit to be sent to open prison. Also, Khan was convicted of a grave offence.

On March 12, 1993, a series of 12 powerful bomb blasts rocked Mumbai, killing at least 257 people and injuring 1,400.

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