Life Beyond Prison-yes, there exists one. KELSA under the guidance of the current Acting Chief Justice, Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan, has created a revolution in the history of prison systems by drafting and introducing the KELSA [Legal Aid for Socio-Economically Challenged Dependents of Convicts] Scheme, 2017, whereby for the first time the sufferings of the family of the convicts has been recognized. These ‘forgotten victims’ will never ever be eclipsed by the convenience of the fortunate members of the society.
Any defence lawyer would day in and day out would get himself involved, and have to handle, the tragedy faced by the family members of the convicts. Many cases are fought not only for the richness it would provide but also to ensure that the hope with which these men could survive is kept alive. Say for instance Death Sentence Penalty Clinic NLU, Delhi has started its litigation unit being shocked by the sufferings of the family members of the convicts. Ripper Jayanandan’s case happens to be a classic example. Fortunately, the denial of proper legal aid to the family of the once death convict compelled one of the family members to take up law graduation and pursue the career in law. Not all are that fortunate. The unfortunate emerges endangered and becomes extinct.
Happiness hope and optimism are things without which there cannot be any life at all. The sentences imposed, even if it is in accordance with the procedure established by law as is mandated by Article 21 of the Constitution of India would certainly hinder the Right to personal liberty of the convict, which is the main purpose of the penal clauses of various statutes. But that does not give an authority for either the institutions or the society at large to impose pain and sufferings on the family members of the convict. Even then, such sufferings have come as a natural consequence of the conviction/punishments imposed upon the convicts who happens to be the breadwinner/caretaker of the family.