SC Seeks Odisha Govt’s Response On Plea Seeking Early Release Of Graham Staines’ Killer

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought response from the Odisha government on the petition filed by convict Rabindra Kumar Pal alias Dara Singh, who is presently serving life imprisonment in the Baripada jail for the murder of Australian missionary, Graham Staines and his sons in the state in 1999.

The petition was heard by Justices Hrishikesh Roy and SVN Bhatti. The lawyer for Dara Singh, Vishnu Shankar Jain, had argued before the bench that his client had already spent more than 24 years in the prison and contested that as per Odisha government remission rules a life convict can be considered for pre-mature release if he or she had spent 25 years in the prison, stated a news report in Times Now.

He also cited the judgement of the apex court in case of the pre-mature release of the assassinators of Rajiv Gandhi. In the petition, the convict’s lawyer had referred to the observation made by Justice VR Krishna Iyer that ‘every saint has a past, every sinner has a future.’

In 2011, the apex court had upheld the life sentence of Dara Singh, who was originally awarded death penalty by a lower court. “All these aspects have been correctly appreciated by the high court (Orissa High Court) and modified the sentence of death into life imprisonment with which we concur,” the bench had then said.

Staines and his sons were burned alive by a mob in 1999 in Manoharpur, a nondescript village in Keonjhar district while they were sleeping inside a station wagon. He worked with leprosy patients there. But, hardline Hindu groups had alleged that he was forcibly converting poor Hindus to Christianity.

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