27 April 2023 12:36 PM GMT
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) plea has been moved before the Patna High Court seeking to quash a circular issued by the Home Department (Prison), Bihar Government, on April 10, amending Rule 481 (i)(a) of Bihar Prison Manual, 2012 which deals with the early release of convicts serving life imprisonment. For context, the said rule forbade, among other things, the early release of...
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) plea has been moved before the Patna High Court seeking to quash a circular issued by the Home Department (Prison), Bihar Government, on April 10, amending Rule 481 (i)(a) of Bihar Prison Manual, 2012 which deals with the early release of convicts serving life imprisonment.
For context, the said rule forbade, among other things, the early release of a convict, who had been found guilty of murdering a public servant on duty, before he actually undergoes imprisonment for 20 years including remissions.
However, on April 10, the said rule was amended by the Bihar Government removing the “murder of a public servant on duty” clause from the list of restricted cases under the said rule, making it possible for a convict, serving life imprisonment for murdering public servant, to get released even before he actually undergoes imprisonment for 20 years including remissions.
For clarity, the said rule (before amendment) read thus:
"481. The following categories of prisoners shall be eligible to be considered for a review of sentences and premature release by the Board: i. Every convicted prisoner whether male or female undergoing sentence of life imprisonment and covered by the provisions of Section 433A CrPC shall be eligible to be considered for premature release from the prison immediately after serving out the sentence of 14 years of actual imprisonment i.e. without the remissions. The following categories of convicted prisoners covered under section 433A CrPC undergoing life sentence would be entitled to be considered for premature release only after undergoing imprisonment for 20 years including remissions: a) Convicts who have been imprisoned for life for murder in heinous cases such as murder with rape, murder with dacoity, murder involving an offence under the Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955, murder for dowry, murder of a child below 14 years of age, multiple murder, murder committed after conviction while inside the prison, murder during parole, murder in a terrorist incident, murder in smuggling operation, murder of a public servant on duty."
Importantly, this move of the State government paved the way for the early release of don-turned-politician Anand Mohan Singh from jail who was awarded life imprisonment in connection with the murder of former District Magistrate of Gopalganj G. Krishnaiah in the year 1994.
Singh was convicted in the year 2007 and he has spent over 14 years in jail, but less than 20 years, which would have disentitled him to an early release as per the unamended prison manual. However, with the latest amendment in the manual, he became eligible for an early release. It may be noted that his release today has stirred up massive controversy in the state.
Challenging this very decision, the instant PIL plea has been moved by Amar Jyoti, the State In-charge of Bhim Army (Bharat Ekta Mission), Bihar and Former State In-Charge, Azad Samaj Party.
The PIL plea argues that the Bihar Government’s decision is perversely unreasonable, arbitrary, malafide, irrational, unfair, reeks of ulterior motive, violative of principles of natural justice, abuse of power, and shows non-application of mind.
The PIL plea contends that the decision will bring down the morale of the public servant on duty and the public at large as the only aim established by this notification is to boost the morale of the criminals and make them more fearless and gives them protection.
“(the said action) has shocked the conscience of the citizen of the state as this notification and decision therein reeks of arbitrariness, unreasonableness, amplified, non-application of mind by deleting the portion of a provision of Rule 481(I)(a) which gave an umbrella to the public servant on duty earlier but now after its removal it has given umbrella of protection to the dreaded criminals who have brutally murdered the public officer on duty and hence such an arbitrary and unreasonable notification should be set aside for the interest of justice,” the PIL plea further states.