Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Supreme Court issues notice to UP DGP on delay in premature release of prisoners

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The Supreme Court has sought response from the Uttar Pradesh Director General of Prison for not considering premature release of two prisoners, who have been languishing in jail for the past almost two decades, despite an Apex Court ruling on the matter.

The Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha on Friday issued notice on a contempt petition filed against the DG, Jail, Uttar Pradesh, seeking reply by January 28.

Appearing for both the petitioners, Advocate Rishi Malhotra apprised the Supreme Court that on March 14 last year, the top court of the country had directed the authorities to consider the premature release of both the petitioners within three months, as per the August 1, 2018 policy.

Despite this, their applications for premature release were not considered, contended the Counsel.

He said Mohammad Nurula has remained in Varanasi jail for nearly 21 years, while Alok Mishra has been in Fatehgarh jail for nearly 22 years. A contempt petition was also filed in this matter in October last year, but the government did not consider their case.

Therefore, the petitioners moved the Supreme Court by way of a contempt petition for release, added Malhotra.

The petition had alleged that the DGP did not comply with the earlier orders of the Apex Court issuing strict directions to the DGP of Uttar Pradesh to take all necessary steps to ensure that applications for premature release or remission were duly considered.

The Bench observed that it had directed the respondent (State of Uttar Pradesh) on March 14 last year to consider premature release of 48 petitioners within a period of three months. 

Though most of them were released, the remaining cases have not been considered.

On October 21 last year, this court passed an order on a contempt petition for the consideration of cases in six weeks, in spite of which, the compliance has not been effected, it noted. 

The Bench directed the petitioner shall serve an additional copy of the hearings to this court by next Friday. It also ordered issuing of an additional copy of the paper book shall be issued to Additional Solicitor General Garima Prasad, appearing for the State of Uttar Pradesh. 

Earlier in another case, the top court of the country had issued strict directions to the Director General of Prisons of Uttar Pradesh to take all necessary steps for consideration of premature release or remission of prisoners. 

The Bench further sought an affidavit from the UP DGP on whether the State had complied with its judgment of 2022 regarding premature release of certain prisoners in line with a 2018 policy.

(Case title: Mohd Nurulla and Another vs Rajesh Kumar Singh and Another)

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