Calcutta High Court Urges State to Consider Early Release for Bowbazar Bomb Blast Convict After 31 Years

Calcutta High Court Grants Premature Release in Khalid's Case, Focusing on Rehabilitation Despite Past Ties, Establishes Second Chance Precedent."

In a landmark legal development, Calcutta High Court has underscored the importance of rehabilitation and individual reformation by refusing to deny premature release solely based on past associations. The case stems from the tragic events of March 16, 1993, when two buildings in Central Kolkata's Bowbazar were gutted by a blast, resulting in the loss of 69 lives. Investigations revealed that the explosives were stocked in these buildings by Rashid Khan, identified as the mastermind behind the devastating incident.

The recent legal proceedings centered around a petition filed by Khalid, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment. After spending three decades behind bars, Khalid sought premature release, citing his exemplary conduct during incarceration, prospects for rehabilitation, and the support of his family. However, his plea faced initial rejection from the State's Releasing Board (SRB), primarily on the grounds of his close association with Rashid Khan.

In response to Khalid's petition, the court deliberated on the fundamental principles of justice and the rehabilitation of convicts. Citing a Supreme Court judgment, the court emphasized that denying premature release based solely on the nature of a crime committed in the distant past would amount to extinguishing the individual's hope for redemption. The court questioned the logic behind allowing past antecedents to overshadow present circumstances, particularly when the petitioner had demonstrated commendable conduct and a desire for reintegration into society.

Furthermore, the bench dismissed apprehensions regarding the petitioner's potential recidivism, highlighting the significant disconnect between Khalid's current disposition and his associations from three decades ago. The court underscored Khalid's long-term incarceration and his consistent display of good conduct throughout his custody, asserting that such past associations should not cloud the consideration of his present eligibility for release.

In a compelling conclusion, the judge urged authorities to reconsider Khalid's premature release, emphasizing the transformative potential of granting him a second chance. Not only would Khalid's reintegration contribute to the mainstream society by adding another reformed citizen, but it would also set a positive precedent for other inmates striving for rehabilitation. The court believed that Khalid's release would serve as a deterrent for other convicts, encouraging them to strive for excellence in their conduct while incarcerated.

The Court remarked, "Not only will such act contribute another reformed citizen to the mainstream society, the same will set a good precedent for other convicts in prison to attempt emulation and shall act as a deterrent for them to be less than perfect in their conduct in prison."

Advocate Somali Mukhopadhyay eloquently represented Khalid's interests in court, advocating for his right to fair consideration and rehabilitation. On the other side, Additional Government Pleader TM Siddiqui, along with Advocate Amrita Panja Moulick, presented the state's stance.