Patna High Court on Friday directed the Bihar government to make available 'reasonable comfort' like a bed, pillows and newspapers and permission to meet relatives to death row convicts former MP Anand Mohan and former MLA Arun Kumar.
A division bench comprising Justices Ghanshyam Prasad and Shyam Kishore Sharma directed the government to provide facilities due to upper class prisoners to Akhlaq Ahmed, a former state minister, also facing gallows in the same case as Anand Mohan and Kumar.
The order came on petitions filed by the three about denial of basic amenities like beds, permission to meet close relatives and seeking an end to their solitary confinement.
In their order, the judges cited a Supreme Court judgement which said facilities due to those awarded capital punishment by a trial court would continue to be made available to the convicts until their sentence was confirmed by the high court.
K P Singh, S N Sinha and A P Singh, counsels for Mohan, Ahmed and Kumar, referred to an amendment to section 389 CRPC relating to suspension of sentence pending an appeal, release of appellant on bail and sought bail for their clients which was rejected by the bench saying it was not possible at this stage.
The three were handed the death sentence for the lynching of Gopalganj district magistrate G Krishnaiah 13 years ago.
While Ahmed and Kumar are lodged in Bhagalpur central jail, Anand Mohan is incarcerated in the special camp jail where he started a fast unto death on November 4 demanding division prisoner status as he was a former MP.
He was shifted to Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Hospital at Bhagalpur a few days ago after his condition deteriorated.
Anand Mohan's counsel K P Singh referred to the High Court rules which provided for hearing and disposal of the appeals filed by a death row convict within 60 days of its admission.
"The bench should fix a date on a priority basis for hearing the admission of the appeal and complete the process within 60 days," he said, adding the rule was followed in other high courts but took a year or at the Patna High Court.
At this, the judges asked him to file a petition in this regard before the court of the chief justice.
The High Court had on November 21 admitted for hearing the petitions of the three challenging the trial court order awarding them the death penalty.
The same bench, while admitting the petitions for the hearing, called for the records from the trial court.
Patna additional district and sessions judge R S Rai had on October 3, 2007 sentenced Mohan, Ahmed and Kumar to death and awarded life imprisonment to Mohan's wife Lovely Anand, a former Lok Sabha member from Vaishali, Munna Shukla, a Janata Dal-United MLA from Lalganj, Shashi Shekhar and Harendra Kumar.
Krishnaiah, the then district magistrate of Gopalganj, was beaten up and then shot by a mob accompanying the cortege of the now virtually defunct Bihar People's Party leader Chotan Shukla on December 5, 1994.
Anand Mohan, a former MP from Sheohar, who was then the BPP chief, Lovely Anand, Munna Shukla, younger brother of Chotan Shukla, Akhlaq Ahmed, Shashi Shekhar, Arun Kumar and Harendra Kumar were accused of having incited the mob to kill Krishnaiah.
While all those awarded life imprisonment are out on bail pending disposal of their petitions contesting the sentence, Mohan, Ahmed and Kumar are in jail.