The Kerala High Court on Monday sought the response of the state government on a plea seeking withdrawal of the parole granted to the convicts in the Sister Abhaya murder case. A bench of Justices K Vinod Chandran and Ziyad Rahman A A issued notice to the Kerala government, the Director General (DG) of Prisons and the two convicts, seeking their stand on the petition moved by Jomon Puthenpurackal, a human rights activist and one of the witnesses in the murder case.
Advocate V S Sudheer, representing the petitioner, confirmed that the high court issued notice in the matter. The two convicts — Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy — were granted parole for 90 days on May 11 and 12 by the DG Prisons, who has contended that the decision was taken on the recommendations of a High Powered Committee set up on the orders of the Supreme Court to decongest jails and prevent spread of COVID-19 among the prisoners.
However, the committee, in its June 28 letter, contended that it has not authorised grant of parole to convicts undergoing life imprisonment and that in the instant case, the two convicts were given the relief on the orders of the state government. Referring to the letter of the committee, Puthenpurackal has sought quashing of the parole orders.
He contended that while granting the relief of special leave or parole of 90 days to the two convicts, the Jail Superintendents concerned were required to take into consideration the nature of the offence they had committed. Then 21-year-old Sister Abhaya's body was found in the well of the St.Pious convent at Kottayam in Kerala on March 27, 1992.
Abhaya, a second year student of BCM college, Kottayam, was staying at the convent and according to the prosecution she witnessed an illicit relationship allegedly between the two convicts and Fr Jose Puthrikkayil following which they hacked her with an axe and threw her into the well. Puthrikkayil was discharged from the case due to lack of evidence.