SC Asks TN Govt To Decide Premature Release Plea Of A 'SriLankan Refugee' Who Spent 3 Decades In Jail [Read Judgment]
The Supreme Court has directed the Tamil Nadu Government to decide the representation submitted by a 'Sri Lankan Refugee' who spent 30 years in jail seeking remission of life sentence and for premature release.
Rajan and others were accused for committing dacoity at the house of one Pitchaikara Grounder. The prosecution case was that while he was trying to escape in a Maruti Van, he fired from a machine gun killing three persons and injuring four. After a full-fledged trial, he was convicted for offences punishable under Sections 395, 302 (3 counts), 307 (4 counts) of IPC and Section 3 read with Sections 25(1A) and 27(3) of 3 the Indian Arms Act and sentenced to undergo 7 years' rigorous imprisonment for offence punishable under Section 395 of IPC, life imprisonment for offence punishable under Section 307 (4 counts) of IPC for each count as also awarded capital sentence for offence punishable under Section 302 (3 counts) and further 5 years' imprisonment for offences punishable under Section 3 read with Section 25 (1A) of the Indian Arms Act. The sentences awarded to the petitioner were directed to run concurrently. The Madras High Court commuted the death sentence into life imprisonment on each of the 3 counts.
He filed an application for premature release in 2010, but it was rejected by the Advisory board and later by the competent authority of the state government. After 8 years, he filed another representation on 5th February, 2018. As he did not get any response to the said representation, he filed writ petition before the Supreme Court.
The bench while disposing his petition made it clear that the representation of the petitioner will have to be considered only in reference to the sentence of life imprisonment concerning offences under Sections 302 and 307 of IPC. This is because, the sentence awarded for the offence of dacoity (Section 395 IPC) has already been completed by him and thus cannot be reckoned for the purposes of deciding the representation. The court also noted that he has also served the sentence in reference to the offence under Section 27(3) of the Arms Act, which was later declared ultra vires and unconstitutional. The bench said:
With the passage of time, however, the situation may have undergone a change and, particularly, because now the claim of the petitioner for premature release will have to be considered only in reference to the sentence of life imprisonment awarded to him for offences under Section 302 (3 counts) and Section 307 (4 counts) of IPC, respectively.
The bench disposed the petition by ordering thus:
We, therefore, dispose of this petition with a direction to the competent authority to process the representation made by the petitioner dated 5th February, 2018 (Annexure-P6) and take it to its logical end expeditiously and preferably within four months, in accordance with law, without being influenced by the rejection of the earlier representation vide order dated 14th June, 2010, by the State Government. We also hold that consultation with the Central Government would not be necessary and the State Government, being the appropriate Government, must exercise power conferred upon it in terms of Sections 432 and 433 of Cr.P.C. All questions to be considered by the appropriate Government are left open."