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Allahabad High Court sets aside order by session judge to grant superior class prisoner category to Mukhtar Ansari

The Allahabad High Court has set aside the order passed by the First Additional Sessions Judge/Special Judge, MP/MLA, Ghazipur which directed the Senior Superintendent of District Jail, Banda to grant superior class to Mukhtar Ansari.

A Single Bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh passed this order while hearing an application under section 482 filed by the State of UP.

The petition under Section 482 CrPC has been filed by the State impugning the order dated 15.3.2022 passed by the First Additional Sessions Judge/Special Judge, MP/MLA, Ghazipur in Session Trial, arising out of Case under Sections 307, 506 and 120-B IPC, Police Station Mohammadabad, District Ghazipur.

The trial court vide impugned order has directed the Senior Superintendent of District Jail, Banda to grant superior class to accused-Mukhtar Ansari.

The trial court has taken into consideration the provision of Section 287 of the Uttar Pradesh Jail Manual. However, the said Jail Manual is replaced now by the Uttar Pradesh Jail Manual, 2022 and the corresponding provisions are incorporated in Chapter-14 of the Uttar Pradesh Jail Manual, 2022.

Under the Uttar Pradesh Jail Manual, criminal prisoners are categorised in two classes; (1) Superior; and (2) Ordinary. Paragraph 257 of the Uttar Pradesh Jail Manual, 2022 provides for recommendation for superior class as was under Paragraph 279 of the Old Manual by the Courts.

The Court noted that,

From perusal of Paragraph 257, it is evident that in respect of a criminal prisoner, who is an accused before the court whether in trial, enquiry, appeal or revision, the High Court may recommend to the State Government and the Court of Sessions to the District Magistrate for admission of such prisoner to a superior class.

The conditions for admission of prisoners as stated above are prescribed in Paragraph 258, which specifically says that the superior class shall not be recommended ordinarily to a prisoner, who is accused of serious offences mentioned in Chapter V-A, VI, VII and VIII. Section 161 ; Chapters XII, XV, XVI, XVII and XVIII of the Indian Penal Code besides under other enactments which are mentioned in the said Section.

It may also be taken note of that while considering the recommendation for providing superior class to a criminal prisoner, the State Government has to take into consideration the following facts:- (a) Education of the criminal prisoner ; (b) Character ; (c) Criminal antecedents ; (d) Nature of offence(s) committed ; and (e) Motive for committing the offence(s).

Ratnendu Kumar Singh, AGA for the petitioner State has advanced two fold submissions in support of the petition.

Firstly, he submitted that the order passed by the trial court is without jurisdiction inasmuch as the Court has only recommendatory power for grant of superior class to a prisoner and the final authority to grant or refuse the superior class is vested in the State Government as the case may be.

He further submitted that considering the long criminal history of the accused-opposite party of heinous offences, a known gangster and the most dreaded criminal is otherwise not entitled to superior class.

He, therefore, submitted that the impugned order being without jurisdiction and also on merit the accused is not entitled for superior class looking at his long criminal history and he being an accused for offences under Chapter-XVI, he is not entitled for grant of superior class inasmuch Paragraph 258 bars granting of superior class to such a criminal.

Upendra Upadhyayay, counsel for the opposite party is not in a position to dispute the legal position that the trial court has only recommendatory power, and the power ultimately vests with the State Government to grant or refuse the superior status for reasons to be recorded on consideration of relevant factors as mentioned in Paragraph 258 of the Jail Manual.

He also can not deny that the accused opposite party is facing the trial for offences under ChapterXVI and if such a person is accused of offences under ChapterXVI, ordinarily he should not be recommended for superior class.

“The accused-opposite party is the known gangster, a dreaded criminal and bahubali.

Considering the aforesaid facts and the legal position, I am of the view that the order impugned in the petition is not only without jurisdiction but also unsustainable on merits, therefore, the same is liable to be set aside”, the Court observed.

“Thus, the petition is allowed and the order dated 15.3.2022 passed by the First Additional Sessions Judge/Special Judge, MP/MLA, Ghazipur in Session Trial, arising out of Case under Sections 307, 506 and 120-B IPC, Police Station Mohammadabad, District Ghazipur, is hereby set aside”, the Court ordered.

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