Kochi | 'Ripper' Jayanandhan, a notorious criminal serving a life sentence, will be able to attend his daughter's wedding next week after Kerala High Court granted him parole, observing that conviction for a crime does not reduce a person into a non-human.
The high court granted the relief to Jayanandhan, a dreaded killer lodged in a high-security prison in central Kerala's Thrissur district, on a plea filed by his wife.
Jayananadhan is serving three life sentences at the central jail in Viyyur.
He will be allowed to take part in the wedding ceremony at Thrissur's Vadakkumnathan Temple under heavy police surveillance on Wednesday.
In her plea before the court, Jayanandhan's wife challenged the authorities' reluctance to grant relief to her husband to take part in the wedding. The couple have two daughters.
The petitioner was represented by their lawyer daughter.
"Since the wedding of a daughter is an auspicious occasion and the presence of the father of the bride at that solemn function is most appropriate, this court is of the view that petitioner's husband ought to be given parole for partaking in the wedding of his daughter," Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas said in the order.
"For the purposes of the wedding functions, he is also permitted to visit his house on March 21, 2023, from 9 am till 5 pm and be returned back to the prison on the same day. He is also permitted to attend the wedding on March 22 again from 9 am to 5 pm," the order stated.
The court observed that conviction for a crime does not reduce a person into a non-human.
"Convicts are not denuded of their fundamental rights, as held in Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration (1978) 4 SCC 494. Though some rights of convicts are denied and are capable of being denied to them, basic human rights cannot be crippled," the court said.
The high court said it cannot be oblivious to the "glorious" right to liberty enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
"The liberty of every individual and the right to life guaranteed under the aforesaid constitutional provision has been interpreted to include the right to live with human dignity. Though a convict, petitioner's husband also enjoys the facets of right to life and liberty within the limits of law.
"Normally the opportunity to participate in the wedding of a daughter has to be treated as part of that liberty. When the statute permits the grant of emergency parole, there is no reason why such a facet of his liberty ought to be denied to him despite him being a convict," the court stated.
The court, however, said the conduct of the convict in prison has not been above board.
Considering that he had twice escaped from prison and was even found guilty and convicted for those offences, the court said he is regarded as a person attempting to escape at every given chance.
"Since it is reported that there are serious security threats in taking the convict from prison, respondents 1 (government) and 3 (Thrissur City police) shall ensure strong and sufficient police surveillance, including escort are provided, and that the convict does not escape.
"However, the accompanying police or escort personnel shall be in plain clothes and shall not interfere with the functions related to the wedding, unless circumstances warrant," it said.
In 2016, the high court had commuted the death sentence of Jayanandhan, accused in several cases of murder and robbery, to life imprisonment in one of the murder cases against him.