BHUBANESWAR: A nonagenarian convicted for life on the charges of murder is serving his term in the British-era Koraput circle jail for the last nine years. At 95, Balaram Sira is no ordinary prisoner. Perhaps, he is the oldest in the State serving a life term. He has been admitted to the prison hospital and is fighting age-related ailments.
Although the April resolution of the Law department on the guidelines allows prisons to recommend life-convict prisoners, aged above 65 years, who have already undergone five years of imprisonment or premature release, Sira is still waiting for his turn.
A native of Dengapadar village under Borigumma Police limits, Sira was arrested at the age of 86 in March 2013 in connection with murder following a land dispute. He was sentenced to life imprisonment under section 302 of IPC by the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Jeypore on January 22, 2015.
Lawyer Ajit Patro, who came across the convict during a visit to the jail, said the rules clearly state that old and decrepit prisoners (men of 65 years and women of 55 years), who are incapable of committing a crime are eligible for premature release after they complete 60 months of imprisonment.
“I have written to the President of India and Chief Justices of both the Supreme Court and High Court for Sira’s release. But no response has been received. The government should take up the matter on humanitarian grounds and release the convict,” he said.
Koraput jail authorities said they have moved the State government for premature release of the nonagenarian. Jailer Lalatendu Bhusan Das said Sira is being taken care of properly.
“We had recommended his premature release to the State Sentence Review Board, but it was returned as his family members could not be traced at his original native place during police verification. Now his family is learnt to have shifted to Nabarangpur. Hopefully, his case will be taken up for consideration soon,” he added.