Pune college comes to the rescue of duo convicted for stealing phones

Updated: Nov 08, 2019, 15:28 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh |

The college faculty took over their case and also helped bail them out so they could spend their first Diwali together.

This image has been used for representational purposes only.
This image has been used for representational purposes only.

A Pune-based law college came to the rescue of a Mumbai-based couple who was convicted for stealing mobile phones at Pune railway station and were lodged at the Yerwada Central Prison for 40 days, as they could not pay the penalty. The college faculty took over their case and also helped bail them out so they could spend their first Diwali together.

The 23-year-old man and 19-year-old woman got married in December 2018, against the wishes of their family. While the man is a DJ, the woman suffers from mental illness. They stayed with their relatives for a while, but were later abandoned.

The man told mid-day, "We came to Deepa's house in June this year as we needed financial aid, but we were soon asked to leave. We then began begging at Pune railway station, but could not suffice for the day and I resorted to stealing."

He said that he stole a few mobile phones and sold them at nominal rates, but on June 17, the duo was arrested red-handed and after being in police custody for two days, they were sent to judicial custody at Yerawada Central Prison.

On September 5, the duo was convicted in three different cases and sentenced to four months imprisonment with a penalty of Rs 4,600 for each case. However, the couple could not pay the entire amount and still had Rs300 to pay.

This is when Symbiosis Law School in Pune came to the couple's rescue. The college runs a prison clinic under their Community Legal Care Centre (CLCC) since 2014.

Dr Shashikala Gurpur, director and dean of college said, “As part of our community legal service under our university program of SCOPE, we are conducting activities in the prison. Our prison clinic closely collaborates with the district legal service authority, garners support to avoid prolonged detention and protects various Human Rights of prisoners."

She said that such cases also help their law students get first-hand information about handling such cases, with help from LLM students who are already lawyers.

Prof Rupal Rautdesai from the collegesaid, “Once a month, our students visit the prison with faculty and legal lawyers. We are handling 15 other similar cases. We check their background, visit courtroom get vital information, speak to family and counsel them." The professor said they paid for the couple from the CLCC funds and their rehabilitation training is on. Yerawada Central Prison superintendent UT Pawar said, “This institution has helped us a lot.”

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