CUTTACK: A life convict continues to be in jail as he was unable to afford Rs 25,000 set as condition by the Orissa High Court for his release more than nine years ago. The case came to light after the convict sought modification of the release order. Dhruba Charan Das of Niali area in Cuttack district has been in jail since the trial court sentenced him to life imprisonment for murdering his wife in 2005.
While he had filed a criminal appeal challenging his conviction in the same year, a division bench of High Court on June 23, 2011 directed his release on the condition that he shall deposit a sum of Rs 25,000 in any nationalised bank or post office in the name of his child (son) for a period of 7 years and furnish the FDRs/certificates before the trial court.
Dhruba’s son was an eyewitness in the prosecution’s case on the basis of which he was convicted. On October 16, 2020, he filed the application for modification on the ground that the order cannot be carried out as his son had died on July 18, 2020. However, the bench of Justice SK Mishra and Justice Savitri Ratho refused to modify the order saying, “In this case, the order has been passed by a two judge division bench. After nine and half years, application has been filed for modification of the order.
There was no attempt on the part of the petitioner to file an application for modification of the order within the period when the judges were sitting. Keeping in view the aforesaid observation and provision of Section 362 of CrPC, we are not inclined to alter the order”.
But considering that Dhruba has remained in custody for 15 years, the bench directed the Registry to prepare the complete case papers related to his criminal appeal that has been pending since 2005 without any delay. While directing for listing of the matter after reopening of the Court on January 4, the bench stipulated that the matter will be taken up without fail at 2 pm on that day.