The Kerala High Court has allowed a person convicted of murder to pursue an LLB course while serving his sentence.

The court said that he gained admission after a competitive examination and that the objection raised by the college cannot be countenanced and is to be deprecated.

In that context, the Bench of Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas observed that, "it is worthwhile to observe that the criminal jurisprudence in our country is based on the principles not only of deterrence or retribution but also of reformation. Rehabilitation of a convict can pave the way for the reformation of the individual and bring him back to civic society."

It was further observed that, "when a prisoner has expressed his willingness to undergo a course of study, especially that of law, it creates an opportunity for reforming the individual and may enable him to come back to society, upon his release, if it happens. The education of a convict can bring hope and aspirations for a better life in the future. Thus, when the prisoner expresses his willingness to undergo a course of study and has even gained admission after a competitive examination, the objection raised by the college cannot be countenanced and on the other hand, is to be deprecated."

Counsel Sunny Mathew and Counsel Anooj J appeared for the petitioner, while Public Prosecutor Sreeja V, along with others, appeared for the respondents.

In this case, a 38-year-old convict serving life imprisonment at Central Prison, Kannur, sought Court intervention to pursue a three-year LLB course at KMCT Law College, Malappuram. He requested the Court's assistance in completing the admission process, including granting emergency leave.

Despite being allotted a seat at KMCT Law College and directed to report on October 11, 2023, the petitioner's lack of leave prompted him to approach the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

The High Court observed that compulsory education must be viewed in contradistinction to voluntary education. To that end, it was observed that, "Compulsory education may bring in resentment, while voluntary education may pave the way for the reformation of the individual."

Subsequently, the Court directed the authorities and the college to grant and complete the admission process of the petitioner for the three-year LLB course, and make necessary arrangements to enable the petitioner to undergo his course of study through online mode.

Cause Title: Karuvangadan Mukthar vs The Superintendent, Central Prison & Ors.

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