Life Convicts Should Be Eligible For Premature Release Once They Have Served Sufficient Period Of Time In Prison: Punjab & Haryana High Court

Aiman J. Chishti

9 July 2024 2:45 PM GMT

  • Life Convicts Should Be Eligible For Premature Release Once They Have Served Sufficient Period Of Time In Prison: Punjab & Haryana High Court

    The Punjab and Haryana High Court has said that life convicts should be eligible for pre-mature release "once they have served sufficient period of time in the prison to mark the seriousness of their offences."The Court while quashing the order of State authorities directing a dacoity and murder convict to remain in prison till his last breath, allowed the pre-mature release noting that he...

    The Punjab and Haryana High Court has said that life convicts should be eligible for pre-mature release "once they have served sufficient period of time in the prison to mark the seriousness of their offences."

    The Court while quashing the order of State authorities directing a dacoity and murder convict to remain in prison till his last breath, allowed the pre-mature release noting that he had undergone more than 24 years of actual imprisonment.

    Justice Sandeep Moudgil said, "'Crime is an outcome of a distorted mind and jails must have an environment of hospital for treatment and care.' Therefore, imprisonment is for reforming an "anti-social" personality into a social person. Imprisonment is for correction and not for destruction of personalities. However, the environment inside prisons is not conducive to reform. It is necessary that prisoners come out of jail for a short period at regular intervals."

    The convict sought quashing of the order passed by the Haryana Government vide which his prayer for grant of premature release was rejected.

    Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the case of the petitioner is squarely covered under para 2 (aa) (iv) of the Premature Release Policy of 2022. According to the said policy, the petitioner has to undergo 20 years of actual sentence and 25 years of total sentence with remission whereas, in the present case the petitioner had undergone more than 24 years of actual imprisonment and 29 years of total imprisonment including remission till date.

    Hence, the ground for rejection that he is involved in five other serious criminal offences cannot be taken into consideration by the State level committee as those offences pertain to 20 years ago, he added.

    The State counsel opposed the prayer  stating that the petitioner is hard core criminal and is involved in various cases.

    After hearing the submissions, the Court observed, "The primary objective underlying premature release is reformation of offenders and their rehabilitation and integration into the society, while at the same time ensuring the protection of society from criminal activities."

    "These two aspects are closely interlinked. Incidental to the same is the conduct, behaviour and performance of prisoners while in prison. These have a bearing on their rehabilitative potential and the possibility of their being released by virtue of remission earned by them, or by an order granting them premature release. The most important consideration for premature release of prisoners is that they have become harmless and useful member of a civilized society," it added.

    Perusing the policy, the bench noted that the petitioner had undergone more than the actual sentence and total sentence prescribed under the policy. Thus, the Court allowed the plea.

    Mr. Rahul Deswal, Advocate for the petitioner.

    Mr. Chetan Sharma, DAG, Haryana.

    AFTAB @ SAKIL v. STATE OF HARYANA AND OTHERS

    Citation: 2024 LiveLaw (PH) 246

    Click here to read/download the order

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