HYDERABAD: The High Court has held that persons who are convicted of murder of a ‘public servant on duty’ are not entitled to special remission of sentence.
Justice Ramesh Ranganathan pronounced this order on a batch of writ petitions seeking grant of special remission to convicts undergoing life sentence in the Cherlapally Central Prison.
As for the case details, five persons had been convicted of killing MA Qadeer (the then deputy secretary of AP State Wakf Board) on January 24, 2003 and were sentenced to life imprisonment by the IV Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge, Hyderabad.
The convicts, in their petition for remission, claimed that the deceased was neither a ‘public servant’ nor was ‘on duty’ when he was murdered and said they were therefore entitled to be released from prison as per para 3 of GO No.283 dated October 30, 2010.
The counsel, arguing for the convicts, submitted that the deceased was not actually on duty when he was killed, and the expression, ‘on duty’, should be read and understood as a person actually performing his duty as a public servant. In fact, the deceased was an employee of the Wakf Board and not in the service of the government and was neither in the pay of the government nor was he remunerated by fees or commission for the performance of any public duty, and, as such, was not a ‘public servant’.
The government pleader contended that the said GO disentitled the prisoners, who were convicted of the murder of a public servant on duty, from being granted remission. “The petitioner convicts were involved in the murder of the deputy secretary of the AP State Wakf Board. The deceased was a “public servant” within the meaning of Section 21 of IPC. Under Rule 11 of the Andhra Pradesh Fundamental Rules, a government servant is on duty 24 hours a day.”
The government pleader said the remission of sentence in terms of para 3 of the said GO had been made inapplicable to certain categories of prisoners. Para 4(iv) disentitles prisoners, who have been convicted of murder of a public servant on duty, from being granted remission of their sentence.
As Qadeer was murdered while on duty, albeit on the night of November 9, 1992, para 4(iv) of the said GO applied and all the convicts herein were not entitled to being granted special remission of sentence, the judge ruled.