Kolkata: 72-year-old freed after 16 years as Calcutta high court rules it’s not murder | Kolkata News

timesofindia.indiatimes.com

KOLKATA: A 72-year-old woman, who has been in prison for almost 16 years for the murder of her husband, is set to walk free after Calcutta high court on Monday read down her crime, ruling it was not premeditated murder, but culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Kabita Pyne’s case begins on the night of September 23, 1996. She and her husband, Tapas, were quarrelling in their two-storeyed home at Goaltuli in Hooghly’s Chinsurah. The couple had a turbulent marriage. That night, a drunken Tapas attacked her. Kabita, according to her advocate Jayanta Narayan Chatterjee, attempted to stop him and cried out for help. Her son Mriganko, who was at home with two friends, reportedly assaulted Tapas with a bamboo stick and screwdriver. Tapas, who had a cardiac condition, backed off and went off to sleep. But he never woke up the next day.
In another case, a division bench of Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan and Justice Bibek Chaudhuri called for records from the Alipore women’s correctional home on the conduct of a 39-year-old sex worker who has been in prison for the last 14 years, convicted of murder. The sex worker, originally from Andhra Pradesh has moved the court saying it was not premeditated murder but an act of self defence.
In the first case, Kabita was found guilty and sent to prison in 2004. She filed an appeal the same year. Her case was pursued by an NGO and brought before the high court. Mriganko, meanwhile, died in a road accident during the trial period.
On Monday, a division bench of justices Joymalya Bagchi and Suvra Ghosh read down Kabita’s conviction. The bench observed that she had served out her sentence during her 16-year prison term. Chatterjee said the bench had also factored in her age, and the fact that she is not a habitual offender. Kabita’s lawyer Indrajeet Dey said: “A certified copy of the order will be send to the prison authorities.”
In the other case, the client of a Sonagachhi sex worker was found murdered one night in 2005 in the presence of two persons — the sex worker and her husband, said Dey, who represented the accused sex worker. Convicted for murder in 2006, the woman — originally from Andhra Pradesh — has spent almost 14 years in prison now. She moved court saying it was not premeditated murder; she had just tried to defend herself.
This case was heard on Tuesday by the CJI-headed bench. “We argued that there were several aspects to this case that needs to be considered,” said Dey. “One, a sex worker’s life isn’t ‘normal’. It is a life of abuse and torture and cannot be straitjacketed with a normal person’s. Secondly, she wasn’t alone in the room; her husband was there. Thirdly, she, too, was injured. What happened behind closed doors will, therefore, be riddled with conjecture and assumptions. Is this adequate to incarcerate a person for 14 years?”
The bench then sought the report. It will hear the matter again on December 10.





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