Mumbai: The Bombay high court recently held that convicts have a right to forget their past and start a new life. It further said that conviction cannot be allowed to haunt them for the rest of their life.
The court was hearing a petition where the petitioner was seeking disqualification of a man holding the post of chairman in the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) of Jalgaon.
According to the petitioner, the APMC chairman was convicted for murder and underwent life imprisonment. Therefore, he should not hold the post of chairman of the APMC.
A division bench of Justice T.V. Nalavade and Sunil Kotwal was hearing the petition filed by Shantaram Sonawane who had contested the Jalgaon APMC election against Baliram Sonawane and lost it.
Shantaram in 2012 had registered a complaint with the district deputy registrar, co-operative societies, seeking a declaration that Baliram was disqualified from holding the post of APMC chairman on account of his conviction.
The state government had upheld Baliram’s side and refused to disqualify him from the post after which, Shantaram moved the Aurangabad bench of the HC.
According to the petitioner, in 1970, Baliram committed a murder and underwent a sentence to life imprisonment. After 20 years i.e. 1990, he was set free. Baliram then contested elections for the APMC chairmanship.
The high court while hearing said that “No doubt people have the right to know the past of the candidate who is contesting election but a convict also has the right to forget his past and start a new life”.
The court further said, “Others cannot be allowed to harrass him and deprive him of his aforesaid right.”