The Kerala High Court calls on Legal Services Authorities to ensure community care for the convict’s aged parents. The Kerala High Court directed Legal Services Authorities to intervene and ensure that the communities and neighborhoods of elderly family members of convicts are given the necessary support and care especially when they require medical services. This was seen in the case of Pranavu @ Pedali v State of Kerala (SC 696/2016) and the case was presided over by Honourable Mr. Justice Alexander Thomas and Honourable Mrs. Justice Sophy Thomas.
FACTS OF THE CASE
The Division Bench of the Supreme Court was considering a plea moved by a convict in a murder case seeking bail so that he can assist his aged father when he undergoes an operation and subsequent medical treatment.
The Court was informed that the other family members of the parents of the applicant were not inclined to associate with them due to the stigma attached to the interactions with a convict’s family members.
The bench opined that in such cases, rather than granting bail, it would be more beneficial to implement a system where the community members and those in the neighborhood can pitch in to provide support.
“We feel that in cases of this nature, the legal services authorities may proactively involve the family members and the immediate neighbors, as well as the resident’s association and the ward member of the local body concerned, to sensitize such persons to be aware of their social obligations, to ensure that adequate assistance and help is rendered to the concerned elderly patients so that they can get treatment at the hospital,” the Court said in its order.
Justice Thomas remarked that such a social problem needs a community solution and not a case-by-case intervention from the court by granting bail.
“I think this is far better. Wherever you go, this stigma will be there and the kind of help you get will be less. This is way better for the patient, especially those coming from a poor background,” he orally remarked.
The Court, therefore, ordered the Kerala, District, and Taluk Legal Services Authorities to take necessary steps and intervene in the case of the applicant.
The applicant was directed to report back to the jail for the time being and the concerned authorities file a report before the Court on any progress made in getting help for the parents, within 10 days.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY ABHINAV SHUKLA.