The Madras High Court has directed the State government to bear the entire cost of treatment of a prisoner who had been sentenced to life imprisonment in a murder case and seven years rigorous imprisonment in the Coimbatore serial bomb blast cases.

A Division Bench comprising Justice K.N. Basha and P. Devadass passed the judgment on a Habeas Corpus Petition (HCP) filed by one Sikkanthar Basha seeking a direction to the authorities to produce the detenu, I. Abuthahir, aged about 32 years, a convict in the Central Prison, Coimbatore, before the court and set him at liberty.

Disposing of the HCP with a direction to the authorities to admit Abuthahir as an in-patient in G. Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital, Coimbatore, for 90 days initially at the cost of the State, the Bench said it was leaving open the main relief sought in the plea, viz., premature release of the convict.

Earlier, the Home Secretary and other authorities had filed an appeal against an order of a single Judge in August last year directing the government to grant ordinary leave of 90 days to Abuthahir, for taking treatment in a private hospital of his choice.

The authorities said the single Judge had failed to note that Abuthahir was sentenced to life imprisonment on May 2, 2003 by the Fast Track Court No. 11, Madurai, for the murder of Jayaprakash, Assistant Jailer, Central Prison, Madurai, and to seven years RI on October 18, 2007 in the Coimbatore serial bomb blast cases.

The Bench said as the present condition of the prisoner was much evident from the report of the expert medical committee of the Government Medical College Hospital, Coimbatore, the single Judge had rightly passed the order granting 90 days leave.

The Bench also felt that it was not possible for the prisoner’s family to bear the heavy cost of treatment as they were not affluent.

Issuing a series of directions, the Bench said there was no illegality in the single Judge’s order. The Bench disposed of the writ appeal.