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'Absolutely Extraneous': Rajasthan HC Quashes Recommendation Rejecting Rape Convict's Plea To Be Sent To Open Air Camp As Other Ladies Living In Camp

ANIRUDH VIJAY
13 March 2022 6:15 AM GMT
Absolutely Extraneous: Rajasthan HC Quashes Recommendation Rejecting Rape Convicts Plea To Be Sent To Open Air Camp As Other Ladies Living In Camp
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The Rajasthan High Court has quashed the recommendation of the respondent-state, which rejected a rape convict's application for being sent to Open Air Camp. The Superintendent of Jail had not recommended the case of the petitioner for being sent to the Open Air Camp as he was of young age and that other convicts are residing in the Camp with their wives and daughters. The Committee...

The Rajasthan High Court has quashed the recommendation of the respondent-state, which rejected a rape convict's application for being sent to Open Air Camp.

The Superintendent of Jail had not recommended the case of the petitioner for being sent to the Open Air Camp as he was of young age and that other convicts are residing in the Camp with their wives and daughters. The Committee also recommended that the convict is not liable to be sent to the Open Air Camp as he is convicted under Section 376 of IPC for which life imprisonment has been awarded to him.

A division bench of Justice Rekha Borana and Justice Sandeep Mehta, opined,

"We are of the firm opinion that this observation made by the Committee in the adverse recommendations is absolutely extraneous and unwarranted. Merely because the convict is of young age and other ladies/ girls are living in the Camp, that by itself would not imply that the accused would misbehave with them."

In the present matter, the writ petition was filed by the convict-petitioner Ajit Singh for assailing the adverse recommendations dated 19.01.2022 issued by the Open Air Committee, Government of Rajasthan, Jaipur whereby, his application preferred for being sent to the Open Air Camp was rejected.

Earlier, the petitioner's application for being sent to the Open Air Camp was rejected by the Committee. Thereafter, he filed a writ petition which was accepted and the court quashed adverse recommendations. The respondents were directed to reconsider petitioner's case in light of this Court's judgment in Nirbhay Singh @ Nabbu Vs. State [(D.B. Criminal Writ No.38/2018)] and without resorting to the restrictions contained in Rules 3 and 4 of the Rajasthan Prisoners Open Air Camp Rules, 1972.

Rule 3 provides that classes of prisoners enlisted therein shall 'ordinarily be not eligible' for being sent to open air camps.

In Nirbhay Singh (supra) it was held that the rule in question does not absolutely prohibit entitlement of prisoners falling in the class enumerated in Rule 3 to be sent to open air camps. It simply states that 'ordinarily' such prisoners would not be eligible to be sent to open air camps. Meaning thereby, the State is to consider each case of the applicant and if the applicant makes out a ground to take him out from the scope of 'ordinarily be not eligible', the authority would be obliged to lodge the prisoner in open air jail.

In this backdrop, the division bench allowed the present petition and ruled,

"As a consequence, the impugned recommendations 19.01.2022 issued by the Open Air Committee, Government of Rajasthan, Jaipur are hereby quashed qua the petitioner. It is hereby directed that the convict petitioner shall forthwith be sent to the suitable Open Air Camp."

The court observed that if any convict is found behaving in an improper manner while being at the Open Air Camp, the indulgence so granted can always be cancelled because the opportunity to continue at the Open Air Camp is always subject to display of good behaviour by the convict.

It was also observed by the court that the Committee failed to consider the case of the petitioner in light of the order dated 01.12.2021. The court stated that no reference was made to the Division Bench Judgment of this Court in the case of Nirbhay Singh while rejecting the petitioner's application. The restrictions contained in Rules 3 and 4 were again relied upon for rejecting the application.

Adv. S.D. Chavariya and AAG Anil Joshi appeared for the petitioner and respondent respectively.

Case Title: Ajit Singh v. State of Rajasthan

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Raj) 97

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