No General Directions to release all life convicts languishing in Tihar Jail : Delhi High Court [Read the Judgment]

No General Directions to release all life convicts languishing in Tihar Jail : Delhi High Court [Read the Judgment]

The Delhi High Court on 5.11.2014 dismissed W.P.(Crl.) No.2080/2014 as misconceived and imposed cost of Rs.1,000/- on the Petitioner payable to the Delhi Legal Services Authority within four weeks of the passing of the order.

This Writ Petition was filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India 1949, as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL). It sought a general direction to the Respondents i.e. Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) and Director General (Prison), Prison Headquarter Tihar, New Delhi, to release all life convicts languishing in Tihar Jail who have completed 14 years incarceration or to release them on bail.

The Delhi High Court held:

We are of the view that no such general direction as sought in the petition can be given. If any of the life convicts considers himself entitled to be released on bail or otherwise, he / she would be entitled to take appropriate steps with respect to his / her individual case and his / her such applications shall be considered in accordance with law by the concerned Court / Body. No direction for release of all life convicts, without consideration of their entitlement thereto based on their respective orders of conviction, can be given.

The Delhi High Court reiterated that Life means Life. No convict can automatically be given the benefit of remission of sentence simply because he/she has completed 14 years of incarceration. The Court placed reliance on the judgments of SwamyShraddanada @ Murli Manohar Mishra Vs. State of Karnataka (2008) 13 SCC 767 and a Division Bench judgment of this Court in Illyasuddin Vs. State of Delhi MANU/DE/0213/2014 that held a convict undergoing imprisonment for life cannot claim remission as a right.

Further, the Court cannot direct the appropriate government to grant remission to a convicted prisoner. Under Article 161 of the Constitution of India 1949, the power to suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases is with the Governor of a State.