Top
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
Top Stories

Length Of Sentence Or Gravity Of Original Crime Cannot Be Sole Basis For Refusing Premature Release: SC [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
30 Sep 2020 2:08 PM GMT
Length Of Sentence Or Gravity Of Original Crime Cannot Be Sole Basis For Refusing Premature Release: SC [Read Judgment]
x

Length of the sentence or the gravity of the original crime can't be the sole basis for refusing premature release, the Supreme Court observed while directing release of two convicts on probation.The Three Judge Bench headed by Justice NV Ramana observed that any assessment regarding predilection to commit crime upon release must be based on antecedents as well as conduct of the...

Your free access to Live Law has expired
To read the article, get a premium account.
    Your Subscription Supports Independent Journalism
Subscription starts from
599+GST
(For 6 Months)
Premium account gives you:
  • Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.
  • Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.
Already a subscriber?

Length of the sentence or the gravity of the original crime can't be the sole basis for refusing premature release, the Supreme Court observed while directing release of two convicts on probation.

The Three Judge Bench headed by Justice NV Ramana observed that any assessment regarding predilection to commit crime upon release must be based on antecedents as well as conduct of the prisoner while in jail, and not merely on his age or apprehensions of the victims and witnesses.

Vikky and Satish have been serving life imprisonment for the offence of kidnapping for ransom. Satish's plea for premature release was rejected on the following grounds- first, the crime is heinous, second, petitioner is hardly 53-­54 years old and can repeat the crime, third, informant has serious apprehensions against his release, and fourth, governmental authorities have adversely commented upon his release considering its direct adverse effect on the society. Similarly, for Vikky, on grounds of his age of 43 years, healthy physical condition, apprehensions of informant and nature of crime.

Taking note of these grounds of rejecting the plea for premature release, the bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Hrishikesh Roy observed that the three factor evaluation of (i) antecedents (ii) conduct during incarceration and (iii) likelihood to abstain from crime, under Section 2 of the UP Prisoners Release on Probation Act, 1938, have been given a complete go­by. It said:

"It would be gainsaid that length of the sentence or the gravity of the original crime can't be the sole basis for refusing premature release. Any assessment regarding predilection to commit crime upon release must be based on antecedents as well as conduct of the prisoner while in jail, and not merely on his age or apprehensions of the victims and witnesses.

As per the State's own affidavit, the conduct of both petitioners has been more than satisfactory. They have no material criminal antecedents, and have served almost 16 years in jail (22 years including remission). Although being about 54 and 43 years old, they still have substantial years of life remaining, but that doesn't prove that they retain a propensity for committing offences. The respondent ­State's repeated and circuitous reliance on age does nothing but defeat the purpose of remission and probation, despite the petitioners having met all statutory requirements for premature release."

The bench also referred to recent judgments in Shor v. State of Uttar Pradesh and Munna v. State of Uttar Pradesh. Taking note of their conduct in jail, the  bench observed that it is extremely unlikely that they would commit any act which could shatter or shame their familial dreams. It said: 

In the present case, considering how the petitioners have served nearly two decades of incarceration and have thus suffered the consequences of their actions; a balance between individual and societal welfare can be struck by granting the petitioners conditional Page | 12 premature release, subject to their continuing good conduct. This would both ensure that liberty of the petitioners is not curtailed, nor that there is any increased threat to society. Suffice to say that this order is not irreversible and can always be recalled in the event of any future misconduct or breach by the petitioners.

Civilized society cannot be achieved only through punitive attitudes and vindictiveness

While directing their release, the bench emphasized the reformative theory. It said:

Whilst it is undoubtedly true that society has a right to lead a peaceful and fearless life, without free roaming criminals creating havoc in the lives of ordinary peace loving citizens. But equally strong is the foundation of reformative theory which propounds that a civilised society cannot be achieved only through punitive attitudes and vindictiveness; and that instead public harmony, brotherhood and mutual acceptability ought to be fostered. Thus, first time offenders ought to be liberally accorded a chance to repent their past and look forward to a bright future. The Constitution of India through Articles 72 and 161, embodies these reformative principles by allowing the President of India and the Governor of a State to suspend, remit or commute sentences of convicts. Further, Section 432 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ("CrPC'') streamlines such powers by laying down procedure and pre conditions for release. The only embargo under Section 433­A of CrPC is against the release of persons sentenced to life imprisonment till they have served at least fourteen years of their actual sentence."
Case name: Satish @ Sabbe vs. The State of Uttar Pradesh
Case no.: SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.) NO. 7369 of 2019  
Coram: Justices NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Hrishikesh Roy

Click here to Read/Download Judgment

Read Judgment



Next Story
Share it