Punjab moves apex court on premature release of life convicts

Punjab government has filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking permission to consider applications of life convicts who want remissions and premature release from jail.

Chandigarh: Punjab government has filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking permission to consider applications of life convicts who want remissions and premature release from jail.

An official release said here today that the state government has filed the application in the apex court on January 8 in which it has been submitted that the Governor of Punjab has been exercising the powers granted under the Constitution while granting remission for convicts were undergoing life imprisonment.

However, the counsel submitted, that in the light of the orders passed by the apex court in July last year the state governments have been restrained from exercising the power of remission to life convicts.

"There were various cases where the life convicts have become eligible for the remission in light of the law and rules framed there under in compliance with the orders of the court. The state of Punjab has not considered the cases of remission or forwarded it to the Governor," the release said.

The state government's moving the apex court assumes significance as it had on December 24 sought the premature release of 13 life convicts, five of them convicted in former Chief Minister Beant Singh assassination case and one in bomb blast in Delhi on September 1993, in which nine persons were killed and 25 injured including former Youth Congress chief M S Bitta.

The state government's counsel pleaded the concerned case was pending before the apex court for hearing since July 2014 and applications of convicts for prayer for remission and premature release were not being considered by the state of Punjab as directed by the court.

Under these circumstances, the counsel pleaded with the apex court that Punjab be allowed to consider and decide applications of life convicts seeking remission and premature release, according to the release.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal wrote separate letters to his counterparts of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Karnataka, Gujarat and Delhi - and Chandigarh Union Territory Administrator taking up the issue of premature release of 13 life convicts hailing from Punjab who are lodged under TADA Act in jails of various states across the country for the past several years.

Badal has sought "their (13 life convicts) prompt release on humanitarian grounds," the Punjab government release said.

The Chief Minister has also sought the release of life convict Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, lodged in Tihar Jail at Delhi, "whose death sentence awarded by the Additional Session Judge Delhi Court has already been commuted to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court and the convict had already completed imprisonment of 20 years."

Badal also sought the release of five convicts of Beant Singh assassination case of 1995. Two of them Paramjeet Singh Bheora and Jagtar Singh Hawara are lodged in Tihar Jail and had undergone incarceration of 19 years.

Three other convicts of the case - Gurmeet Singh, Shamsher Singh and Lakhwinder Singh were lodged in Burail Jail at Chandigarh for whose release Badal has written to Administrator of Chandigarh Shivraj V Patil.

Badal has also approached Patil for premature release of two more convicts Subeg Singh and Nand Singh lodged in Burail Jail who have undergone incarceration of 15 years.

He urged his counterpart in Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav to consider the case of life convict Waryam Singh lodged in Central Jail, Bareilly (UP), "who had already undergone incarceration of 22 years".

Badal raised the issue with Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje for the release of another life convict Gurmeet Singh Fauji currently lodged in Tonk jail, Rajasthan, who had already completed nine years out of 10 years imprisonment awarded to him, said the release.

Badal also took up with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee the matter of releasing life convict Daya Singh Lahoria lodged in Tihar Jail who "has already completed 10 years of imprisonment against the life sentence" awarded to him in connection with a case in the east.

Similarly, the Chief Minister also impressed upon his Gujarat counter-part Anandiben Patel for the release of life convict Lal Singh, now lodged in maximum-security jail in Nabha (Punjab), who has already undergone incarceration of 22years.

Badal also took up the matter with his Karnataka counterpart Siddaramaiha, of releasing the life convict Gurdeep Singh Khaira, lodged in Gulberga jail who has already undergone imprisonment of 24 years.

He asked the six chief ministers to appreciate that in India, "we followed reformatory approach in furtherance of the Criminal Justice System".

"Apart from pure humanitarian ground, everybody deserved a chance to reform himself and get reintegrated into the society as a good member," the Chief Minister added.  

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