27 March 2023 7:33 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has directed the state government to ask the Life Convicts Release Committee, headed by the Principal Secretary, State Home Department, to meet once in two months to review and pass orders on applications made for premature release/remission made by convicts serving life imprisonment.“I deem it appropriate to direct the State Government to henceforth direct the...
The Karnataka High Court has directed the state government to ask the Life Convicts Release Committee, headed by the Principal Secretary, State Home Department, to meet once in two months to review and pass orders on applications made for premature release/remission made by convicts serving life imprisonment.
“I deem it appropriate to direct the State Government to henceforth direct the 2nd respondent/Committee to meet at least 6 times a year – once in two months, so that those application/s are considered at the right time on their individual merit and cases being filed only to place the application/s before the committee would be obviated,” said the court.
A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna passed the direction while allowing a petition filed by convict Omkarmurthy who has been in prison for over 16 years. The jail authorities have issued certificates favouring the petitioner observing that his conduct has been exemplary throughout. On all the aforesaid basis, the petitioner is seeking his premature release/remission. However, his plea was not placed before the Committee by the Chief Superintendent of police.
The counsel for petitioner informed the court that the Committee is required to meet once in two months, six times in a year but the Committee has not met for the last six months and therefore, the application of the petitioner has not been able to be placed before the Committee to consider his premature release.
However, the government advocate contended that the Committee has slated to meet in the month of March for consideration of the cases of the petitioner and the like on their merit. It would be the endeavour of the Government to meet frequently.
The bench referred to the judgments of the Apex court in the case of Sondhar Vs State of Chhattisgarh and Karuna Shankar Vs State of Uttar Pradesh.
“What would unmistakably emerge is that, the Committee though would not meet 8 times a year, but should at least meet 6 times a year, which would mean once in two months, as the life convicts are statutorily entitled for consideration of their premature release in terms of the guidelines notified by the State,” said the court
Noting that the cases of life convicts who are entitled for consideration of their premature release, should be considered without any loss of time the bench said:
“The Committee has not met for the last 8 months which has resulted in a plethora of cases being filed before this Court seeking a mandamus only to place those applications before the committee in the ensuing meeting. When the meeting would ensue the State itself is not aware, as no concrete date is being divulged for the committee to meet.”
The court said till such time that the application of the petitioner would merit consideration before the committee, he would be entitled to be released on parole, "in accordance with law, for a period that the Authorities of the jail would prescribe or till such time, the committee would meet and consider the case of the petitioner.”
Case Title: Omkarmurthy And State of Karnataka & Others
Case No: WRIT PETITION NO. 1300 OF 2023
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 122
Date of Order: 02-03-2023
Appearance: Advocate K.B Monesh Kuamr for Advocate Pradeep Patil for petitioner.
AGA B V Krishna for respondents
Click Here To Read/Download Order