INDIA – India: Supreme Court orders Kandhamal Christian freed on bail after 10 years in prison

World Watch Monitor | May 22, 2019

The seven – three of whom are Dalits, the other four tribals – continue to maintain their innocence.

However, only Chalanseth’s bail application was filed in the Supreme Court – after Odisha High Court had rejected it for a second time last December. Once given bail, there is no deadline to return to jail unless ordered by the Supreme Court.

A former Supreme Court Justice Cyriac Joseph and former Kerala High Court Justice P K Shamsuddin, have criticized the delays in hearing the men’s appeal.

“This (delay) is a failure of the judicial system. In the judicial process, appeal could be delayed for many reasons. But in this case there are no (technical) reasons to keep it pending. It seems to be deliberately delayed, perhaps so that it is brought before a suitable judge,” remarked Justice Joseph a year ago.

“When we were convicted (in 2013), it was a shock. It was very stressful for me when I put behind bars for murder, despite being innocent” Chalanseth told World Watch Monitor as he walked free. “10 years, five months and six days [in prison]…I thank God for the freedom. My joy has no words.”