Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has ruled that the accused, in cases transferred by the Supreme Court to Maharashtra, should be sent to jails in their respective states after they are convicted.

The ruling was delivered yesterday by a division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and S B Shukre which heard a petition filed by Ramesh Chandana, who was convicted along with 11 others in the gangrape of Bilkis Bano and murders of her family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

After his conviction, Chandana was serving the sentence in a jail in Maharashtra and had urged that he may be sent to a prison in Gujarat.

The bench ordered the transfer of Chandana to a jail in Gujarat and asked the authorities to follow this order in future too. Accordingly, 11 others convicted in the same case would now be transferred to Gujarat jails.

The bench observed that in such cases, the convicts cannot be treated as convicts of Maharashtra but of the state from where the case has been transferred.

The judges observed that once the accused in such cases are convicted, why should they be kept in jails here (Maharashtra). They should be sent to prisons in their respective states. Why should they come to the court for such small issues? the bench asked.

Chandana was convicted by a sessions court in Mumbai in 2008 after the Supreme Court transferred the case for retrial in Maharashtra. Since then he was lodged in Nashik jail. His petition sought a transfer from Nasik jail to Vadodara central prison on the ground that he was a convict of Gujarat government and not of Maharashtra.

In 2010, he had filed a petition seeking the same relief and the High Court had asked the state to consider his case. However, Inspector General of Prisons (IGP) had rejected his plea.

Chandana again moved the High Court in December last year when the IGP’s order was quashed and the state was asked to reconsider his plea. However, his plea was once again rejected by the state on the ground that his appeal was pending.

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