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Allahabad High Court directs UP govt to decide in 6 weeks on release of 81-year-old prisoner

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The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has directed the Uttar Pradesh government to take a decision in six weeks on the release of 81-year-old Keshav Prasad of Sitapur, who has been in jail for 46 years in a 1974 murder case.

The Division Bench of Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Renu Agarwal passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Keshav Prasad.

The petitioner, 81-year-old Keshav Prasad, said he has been languishing in jail for more than 40 years in pursuance of the order dated 02.09.1988 passed in Criminal Appeal arising out of the order dated 18.12.1976 passed by the District & Sessions Judge, Sitapur in Sessions Trial, is seeking the following relief:-

“(i) Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of Mandamus directing the respondent no 3 and 4 to provide the copy of judgment and order dated 02.09.1988 passed in Criminal Appeal No 141 of 1977 by the Court or copy of Judgment and Order dated 18.12.1976 passed in Session Trial No 140 of 1975 by District and Sessions Judge, Sitpaur.

(ii) Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of Mandamus directing the respondent no 1 and 2 to release the petitioner in terms of Government Orders dated 01.08.2018 and 28.07.2021.

(iii) Issue any other appropriate writ, order or direction which the Court may deem just and proper in the facts of the case.

(iv) To allow the Writ Petition with Cost.”

The Court noted,

None appears on behalf of the petitioner to press the writ petition.

In compliance of the order dated 26.07.2022, Vijay Dixit, Counsel for the High Court/respondents no 3 and 4 has filed a short counter affidavit duly sworn by Nitish Kumar Rai, Registrar (J), Litigation, stating therein that in pursuance of the application submitted by the family members of the petitioner for obtaining the certified copy of the judgment and order dated 02.09.1988 passed by the Court in Criminal Appeal, a direction was issued by the administration of the High Court for reconstruction of the missing record of the Criminal Appeal but in spite of best efforts, the same could not be reconstructed.

Umesh Chandra Verma, AGA, also filed an affidavit in compliance of the order dated 26.07.2022, duly sworn by Vijay Kumar Rai, Jailor, Central Jail, Bareilly, stating therein that till 18.08.2022, the petitioner has served the sentence of 21 years 01 month and 15 days without remission and 28 years 02 months 00 days with remission and further Form ‘A’ submitted by the petitioner for his premature release has been transmitted along with the recommendation of Probation Board, brief note of the case and other relevant papers by the Headquarter of Jail, Lucknow to the State Government for consideration vide letter dated 10.08.2022.

Additional Government Advocate submitted that the State Government may take appropriate decision on the petitioner’s Form ‘A’ for his premature release at an early date as he has already served out more than 40 years in jail.

“Considering the aforesaid facts and circumstances of the case, particularly the fact that Form ‘A’ with regard to premature release of the petitioner is pending before the State Government and the petitioner has served the sentence of 21 years 01 month and 15 days without remission and 28 years 02 months 00 days with remission,” the Court observed.

“The State Government is directed to make an earnest endeavour to consider and decide the application of the petitioner for premature release Form ‘A’ forwarded by the Headquarter of Jail, Lucknow vide letter dated 10.08.2022, in accordance with law, expeditiously, say, within a period of six weeks from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this order. The decision so taken shall be communicated to the petitioner forthwith.

Additional Government Advocate is directed to communicate the order to the concerned authority of the State for necessary information and compliance forthwith,” the Court ordered.

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