HC Asks Delhi Govt To Consider Ex-CM Chautala's Plea For Special Remission

HC Asks Delhi Govt To Consider Ex-CM Chautala

The Delhi High Court has asked the Delhi Government to consider the plea of former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala for his release from Tihar jail in light of the Centre's Special Remission Notification dated July 18, 2018, while observing that anyone who is convicted has a right to get remission of good conduct as per law.

A bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Prateek Jalan asked the government to consider Chautala's representation for special remission and pass a speaking order within four weeks.

The government has assured the court to do as directed.

It is to be noted that the July 2018 notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs speaks of categories of prisoners who will be considered for special remission and includes male convicts of 60 years of age and above, who have completed 50% of their actual sentence period, women and transgender convicts of 55 years and above who have completed 50% of their sentence, physically challenged convicts with 70 per cent disability and terminally-ill convicts.

Pursuant to this notification, the state governments were to form a committee to examine all cases and recommend the same to the Governor for his approval. After the approval, the prisoners were to be released on October 2, 2018, April 10, 2019, and October 2, 2019.

Chautala, along with his sons, was sentenced to 10-year jail term by a special CBI court in the year 2013 after they were found guilty in the junior basic teachers' recruitment scam.

Chautala, in his petition filed through advocate Amit Sahni and argued by senior advocate N Hariharan, told the high court that his case should have been considered under the notification as he is almost 83 years of age and suffers from 70% progressive disability, besides having undergone a pacemaker implant surgery in 2013.

Chautala also told the court that he has already completed seven years of incarceration which is the maximum sentence prescribed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and his case falls under clause (c) and (d) of the notification as per which male convicts of 60 years of age and above, who have completed 50% of their actual sentence period and physically challenged/disabled convicts with 70% disability and more who have completed 50% of their actual sentence are to be considered for special remission and released.

He had also made a representation before the authorities concerned for special remission before moving the high court.

The petition said that the government did not consider his case for special remission owing to its hostile attitude towards the petitioner and because of the provision which bars convicts sentenced under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act, 1988 from being considered for special remission while completely ignoring the fact that the petitioner has already undergone the sentence awarded under the PC Act.

The petition pointed out that Chautala was sentenced to 10 years' jail under provisions of the Indian Penal Code and seven years' jail under the PC Act.