Supreme Court SC plays Good Samaritan to convicts, releases them on...

SC plays Good Samaritan to convicts, releases them on bail for Holi

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New Delhi, Mar 24 (ILNS) The Supreme Court today played Good Samaritan by releasing a couple of prisoners on interim bail, who were convicted under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced to capital punishment, which was later converted to life imprisonment. 

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and R Subhash Reddy directed the state of Uttar Pradesh to enlarge three prisoners on interim bail and directed them to report on every Monday at 1000 hrs to the local police station starting April 2021, only for attendance.

During the hearing, ASG Aishwarya Bhati submitted that these inmates have never been released, either on bail or parole. The bench asked about the grounds in the present case and enquired as to what steps have been taken after its previous order of January 5.

The ASG submitted that the State was taking a strong stand against the persons, who were sentenced to capital punishment. But the Court pointed out that their punishment was later converted into life imprisonment.

“It troubles us when the State behaves like this. How many years he is in prison?,” asked Justice Kaul. The petitioner replied, “15 years”.

The Court then directed the state government to file the affidavit as per its previous order on January 5, 2021. “We have found the consideration laughable. It is just a formality, rather than consideration. We direct a fresh consideration as we have directed in the order of January 5,” said the apex court. 

The court had directed the state government to consider the request of the prisoners for early release, afresh by an officer, who is capable of understanding the nature of such consideration. The Supreme Court had shown its dissatisfaction against the rejection of the prisoners’ application by the Joint Secretary.

The Court had said, “We are appalled to read the order passed by the Joint Secretary concerned, declining the request for release of prisoners convicted under Section 302 IPC. We are of the view that the concerned officer possibly does not even understand the contours of what is required to be considered before deciding such an application.” 

The Court had noted that a perusal of the orders shows that the allegation is of a murder, in which four accused were associated as far back as on October 11, 1998 by use of a country-made pistol. The reasons given by the Joint Secretary for not releasing the inmates included; a) extensive impact of prisoners crime on the society; b) opportunity for him to commit crime in the near future; c) he is not denying to commit crime again; d) his socio-economic status not being appropriate; and f) prisoners being criminal in nature because of the existence of a dispute. 

The apex court said, “There is nothing disclosed as to whether the petitioners have been involved in any other crime. The crime was heinous is obvious because that is why they have been convicted for life.”  

Further, it noted that the rationale given aforesaid also has no bearing, for example “he is not denying to commit crime again, his socio-economic status not being appropriate, prisoners being criminal in nature because of the existence of a dispute.”

The Court had set aside the orders passed by the Joint Secretary and directed to properly consider the request of the petitioners within one month by a different officer, who is capable of understanding the nature of such consideration. ILNS/SNG/RJ

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