Posted On Monday, June 18, 2012 at 09:22:26 AM
It is a well-established prison rule that no inmate is to be released from custody after sunset even if a court issues orders for his/ her release.
|Nithyananda walks out of Mysore Central Prison
But, this rule was relaxed by Mysore jail officials in the case of Swami Paramahamsa Nithyananda. Perhaps, someone in authority feared Nithyananda’s curses or perhaps it was his very presence which instilled the fear of god in a high-ranking official. Whatever the reason, the controversial godman was released on bail at 9 pm on Friday.
“We have released him from custody at night as a special case,” admitted S Ravi, DIG (prisons). “Nithyananda’s bail order was communicated to Mysore jail officials at 6.30 pm. After that, they took two hours to verify it and release him.”
Releasing an inmate after sunset is a courtesy that is not extended to ordinary prisoners due to several reasons. But Nithyananda was no ordinary inmate. The godman had threatened to curse prison officials on Wednesday after he was denied permission to keep his `Shivalinga' with him. Nithyananda had also claimed in the past that misfortune had befallen those whom he had cursed.
The executive magistrate and deputy commissioner of Ramnagaram district in whose jurisdiction Nithyananda’s Bidadi ashram is situated, passed orders for his release on bail on Friday at about 5 pm. The order was typed and signed only at 6 pm. Nithyananda’s advocate then carried the orders by road from Ramanagaram to Mysore — a journey of about 90 minutes.
According to sources, Nithyananda’s lawyers reached Mysore jail at around 8 pm. The paper work was then completed and he was released at 9 pm, according to a jail official.
“Some back room dealing was done to get the Swami out of jail in the night itself,” the official revealed. “Nithyananda's advocate was first told that his client cannot be released in the night. His release after sunset was done only after a senior officer intervened.”
Nithyananda was then whisked away by his devotees to Madurai by road in a convoy. The manner of his release, however, is a clear violation of a well-established prison rule.
As per Karnataka Prison Rules Act 1974, no prisoner, either convict or accused of some charge, is to be released from jail after sunset. The reason: An official count of inmates is taken at this time and the inmates are then locked in the barracks. The barracks are opened only the next day after sunrise when another count is taken. Only after all inmates are accounted for are they allowed to go around the prison.
“It is difficult to identify a person after dark in a vast place like a prison which is not properly illuminated,” a prison department official said. “Moreover, there is plenty of paper work, like ascertaining the genuineness of a court order, before an inmate is released. So, we ask people to come the next morning and take the inmate out if there is a bail order.”
But these rules and well-established practices were relaxed for Nithyananda, who has filed a suit against chief minister Sadananda Gowda seeking Rs 10-crore in damages. It was Gowda who had directed the police to arrest Nithyananda.
Another DIG in the prisons department said, “Usually, we do not release anybody after 6.30 pm. But in few special cases, we adopt a practical approach and relax the rule. In Nithyananda's case, we felt it was better if he was released immediately, so he was released.”
Incidentally, in 2007, Akram Pasha, who was jailed on an attempt to murder charge was granted bail by a Bangalore court in the wake of his mother’s death.
The orders were taken to Parappana Agrahara Jail at 6.30 pm due to a major traffic jam on Hosur Road. The jail official refused to release Pasha that night citing prison rules.The funeral had to be postponed to the next day.