Punjab and Haryana High Court recently held that the policy of the state government with respect to premature release of prisoners, applicable to the relevant claim, would be the policy as applicable, at the time of verdict of conviction and sentence.
It is trite law, that the policy applicable to the relevant claim, would be the policy as applicable, at the time, when the verdict of conviction, and, consequent therewith sentence of life imprisonment, becomes imposed, upon the life convict.
The court was dealing with a petition of a life convict undergoing the sentence of life imprisonment, with respect to a case emanating from an FIR registered under Sections 302, 120-B of the IPC and Section 25/27 of the Arms Act, 1959.
On anvil of a policy, drawn by the State of Punjab, the petitioner, claimed the contemplated benefit of premature release from the prison. However, his claim was declined by the competent authority by an order. Hence, he filed the instant petition.
The bench comprising Justice Sureshwar Thakur held that the policy applicable to claim premature release would be the one applicable at the time when the verdict of conviction and the sentence of life imprisonment is imposed upon the life convict.
Based on this policy, the court held that the verdict of conviction against the petitioner was passed in 2012 when the 1991 Policy was prevalent. According to 1991 policy, the petitioner was to either undergo 8 years of total actual sentence or 14 years imprisonment along with remission period.
Court further noted that the actually spent period, in prison, by the life convict is about 10 years along with remission for a term about 8 years thereupon making it a total sentence of 16 years.
……..a perusal of the custody certificate of the present petitioner, as unfolded by a table, carried in the impugned verdict, reveals that the actual period of sentence, as, spent in prison, by the present petitioner, is 10 years, but since the present petitioner, is also, detailed in the table, to earn remission for a term about 8 years. Therefore, upon totaling the actually spent period, in prison, by the life convict, which is about 10 years, with the above term of remissions, as, became earned by the petitioner, thereupon the total sentence for the relevant purpose comes to a term of 16 years.
Therefore, the court concluded that the impugned order declining his premature release suffers from a gross fallacy, and, infirmity, inasmuch as it is in complete derogation of the relevant contemplation. Therefore, the said judgement is quashed, and, set aside.
In sequel, the court directed Superintendent of the Jail concerned to prematurely release the present petitioner, from the prison concerned.
Accordingly, the petition stands disposed of.
Case Title : Kabal Singh v. State of Punjab and others
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (PH) 219