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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 November, 2004, 11:43 GMT
Indian, 107, granted bail - for now
By Sutapa Mukerjee
Correspondent in Lucknow

Nankau Prasad Mishra
Nankau Prasad Mishra is "barely in his senses", says his lawyer
A hospitalised 107-year-old Indian man who has been in and out of jail for 17 years over a fatal attack on a villager has won bail on the grounds of old age.

But his case is not over.

Nankau Prasad Mishra was convicted when he was a mere 90 of culpable homicide not amounting to murder for attacking Jwala Prasad in a land dispute in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Prasad later died.

Mishra only served 17 days before being bailed but spent the next 17 years with the case hanging over his head.

He thought it was all over in March last year when the High Court in Lucknow overturned a six-year jail sentence and freed him.

But the Uttar Pradesh state government appealed to the Supreme Court, which ordered him back to jail in August this year.

'Awfully sorry'

The old man, who his lawyer says is "barely in his senses", has won bail again but only until the Lucknow High Court rules on his case.

Nankau Prasad Mishra and officer Ram Lal
Oct 1987: Jailed. Serves 17 days
1987-1995: Out on bail
1995: Sentenced to six years. Serves 20 days
1995-2003: Out on bail
Mar 2003: Conviction overturned and freed
Aug 2004: Conviction reinstated. Jailed Aug to Oct
Oct 2004: Sent to hospital
Nov 2004: Out on bail

"To my knowledge, never before in India has such an old man been arrested," Mishra's lawyer, IB Singh, told the BBC.

Mishra, suffering from severe health problems, has been confined to hospital in Lucknow for the past fortnight after jail authorities in Barabanki refused to keep him there.

Mr Singh said the latest bail was granted by the Lucknow court "on the basis of Mishra's age".

"We produced his passport before the judge and soon bail was granted," he said.

The passport puts Mishra's birth date at July 1897.

Two of his grandsons are taking Mishra to his village on Wednesday.

"At last our grandfather has been granted bail and we can take him home," said Sudhir Mishra.

Mishra's doctor, Pradeep Kumar, said: "He was brought here suffering from severe gastroenteritis. He is also suffering from hypertension."

Policeman Ram Lal, who had been guarding Mishra in the hospital, said he was relieved to see him go.

"I was asked to guard an old man who could not even move. I felt awfully sorry for him," he said.

Mishra's wife and two of his three sons are dead. His surviving son is a retired doctor in Liverpool. Mishra also has three daughters.

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