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Supreme Court releases life term prisoners on interim bail, says celebrate Holi with family

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.

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday released a few prisoners on interim bail, who were convicted under Section 302 of 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 has directed the state of Uttar Pradesh to enlarge three prisoners on interim bail and directed them to report on every Monday at 10 AM 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 has asked about the grounds in the present case and enquired as to what step have been taken after its previous order of January 5. 

The ASG submitted that the State is 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 State behaves like this,” said Justice Kaul. “How many years he is in prison?” he asked. Petitioner replied, “15 years”.

The Court has directed the state government to file the affidavit as per its previous order on 5.01.2021. “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 11.10.1998 by use of a country made pistol. The reasons given by Joint Secretary are; a) extensive impact of prisoners crime on the society; b) opportunity for him to commit crime in 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 had termed it laughable on the face of it. “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,” said the Court. 

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Further it had 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. 

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