Individuals who have been imprisoned unfairly in West Bengal for years without being even tried for trial.
Dipak Joshi, 70, was to visit his 90-year-old mother in his home in Nepal nearly 43 years later, after being freed from a West Bengal prison where he had been held for 41 years without trial and then turned over to Nepal. Doctors informed the court that he was mentally ill and that he may face a court trial. On December 7, the Calcutta Supreme Court ordered his release and sentenced him to a lengthy jail term.
"On May 12, 1980, he was arrested on murder accusations. “However, because he was not prepared to face the trial, his case was dropped," said Jayanta Narayan Chatterjee, a high court counsel. In the 1980s, Joshi was detained in Darjeeling on accusations of killing a person during a dispute. He was transported from jail to prison until landing at the Dum Dum Central Correctional Home in Kolkata at the age of 41, imprisoned in a distant nation with no one to contact or see.
While evaluating outstanding cases in court, the then-Calcutta Chief Justice, TBN Radhakrishnan, who was also a defense for the West Bengal State Legal Services Authority, recognized his case around the end of 2020. The district legal authorities acted on the court's decision, and Jososhi was sent to a state mental facility. “The committee found that although he was 70 years old, his mental health was not that of a nine-year-old child. He could only speak Nepali and no one understood what he said. He just ate and survived. He had no family or relatives in India. You have a family in Nepal, who you know is struggling in prison,” said a high court lawyer who did not want to be named.
Chatterjee, who represented Joshi's State Legal Services Authority, claimed the then-Chief Justice began the suo moto procedure, and Jososhi was released in less than two months. "In this case, the Nepal Consulate was engaged. Josu's 90-year-old mother was discovered to be living in Nepal, where she was born. Joshi was reunited with his family 40 years later in March 2021 after one of his cousins who arrived in India signed a bond, according to Chatterjee.
Because the family was impoverished and lived in a distant part of Nepal, Radhakrishnan requested that the attorney general talk to the court about compensation for Joshi, who had been imprisoned for almost forty years. The government has produced an affidavit claiming that there is no compensation for small misdeeds that have gone unpunished, yet the court has agreed to compensate the family of a convicted criminal who died in jail for five lakhs. According to the lawyer, "the court ruled (December 7) that compensation be provided to Jososhi through the Nepali embassy."
There were others like Jososhi, and according to state law enforcement authorities, 103 detainees are currently awaiting trial in West Bengal and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands jails because they are not psychologically prepared to face trial. And virtually all of them are from low-income homes, and many have been neglected by their family owing to a lack of resources to address their problems. Others are looking forward to seeing their loved ones. The Supreme Court of Calcutta has jurisdiction over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Asim Kumar Roy, 50, was arrested in December 2011 in Haringhata, Nadia, on suspicion of killing a domestic servant. He is presently being kept at the Dum Dim Central Correctional Home on the outskirts of Kolkata, where he is awaiting trial after a doctor at a state-run hospital claimed he was mentally ill and couldn't stand court harassment.
"She was the youngest child." We have no idea why he killed the woman. We bolted from the room when we heard a ruckus. My brother was standing next to a woman who was sleeping on the street. I dashed to the police station to file a report. They arrived and escorted him away. He has been in prison since then. "The doctors will still issue him the correct certificate, which is why the lawsuit has not yet begun," said Alok Kumar Roy, Asim Kumar Roy's brother.
Roy's older sister had been visiting him in prison all these years. His older brother Alok meets him after his death from illness in 2020. Asim has not been informed of his sister's death. He now understands that his sister is suffering from cancer and is in critical condition. In the same year that he was arrested, his father died.
"She cried every time I saw her." He begs me to let him out of prison, claiming that he was unable to continue and that he was in poor health. She's started limping since her leg hurts. Because there are two thick walls between us and a space of at least five feet in the center, I can't even see him well. As our voices sag, we should both yell and talk. Over the years, we've spent more than a lakh rupees on lawyers' fees and he said we are still trying to get him out.
However, other people, such as Biswanath Chatterjee, whose family appears to be losing interest in her case. In August 1992, Chatterjee, another prisoner in Dum Dum, was arrested on murder charges. The Bankara Regional Court is now hearing his case. The medical board of Calcutta Pavlov Hospital pronounced him 'unworthy' of being tried in April.
According to the documents, his family could not be located, and no one had seen him in years, a jail official claimed. Some of these mentally ill persons had not had a visitor in years, according to the official. "Because of their approach, the family is losing interest because the trial is not started," he added.
Bankim Chakraborty, 70, was arrested together with his wife and two sons in 2017 in Haringhata, North 24 Parganas, in connection with the lobola of his daughter-in-law. During the trial of another family member, it was declared that he was mentally unable to stand trial.