No political consideration while granting remission to prisoners: Kerala government to HC

The state government on Tuesday informed the Kerala High Court granting relaxation to the jail term of prisoners by way of special remission cannot be construed as protection of anti-social elements.

Published: 07th June 2017 02:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th June 2017 02:51 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KOCHI: The state government on Tuesday informed the Kerala High Court that granting relaxation to the jail term of prisoners by way of special remission cannot be construed as protection of anti-social elements. It stated there was no political consideration behind the government’s initiative to grant remission to prisoners.

The government filed the affidavit in response to a petition by P D Joseph, of Thrissur, seeking a directive to the state government not to release convicts involved in crimes, including murder, rape and dacoity, before completing their jail term. 

According to the government, the allegation raised by the petitioner that the government is going to release prisoners ‘en masse’ is baseless.The government had decided to recommend special remission to certain prisoners having a record of good behaviour in prisons, in connection with the 60th year anniversary of the state reorganisation.

The Home Department said the government had decided to exclude professional or hired murderers; persons who committed murder for religious or communal or caste reasons; those sentenced to life imprisonment for offence against the security of the state; persons involved in smuggling; murder of prisons staff, prison visitors and public servants on duty; those involved in sexual assault in any form against women and children resulting in death, and premeditated murder of women and children and person above 65 years; persons convicted under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act and prisoners sentenced by courts in other states and foreigners, from granting special remission.

In fact, a scrutiny committee comprising Additional Secretary Home Department, Joint Secretary, Law Department and Deputy Inspector General of Prisons(South Zone) had examined the list of persons and recommended 1,860 well-behaved prisoners for special remission. 

The affidavit stated the Jail Advisory Board had examined and submitted the recommendation regarding the premature release of convicts fit for leading a normal life.The list of prisoners prepared by the board has been forwarded to the government. The premature release was different from the special remission granted by the Governor. Granting remission will not be equivalent to the premature release by way of restricting the sentence to the period undergone. 

Special remission is permitted for small periods. In the case of life-time prisoners, the remission period could not have any significant impact as such prisoners will be considered by the Jail Advisory Board only on completing actual imprisonment of 14 years.

The affidavit also prayed the court’s interim directive not to release any convict without completing their entire prison sentence until further orders be reviewed or modified so as to enable the government to proceed with the proposal of the Jail Advisory Board. Absolute incarceration of individuals till the end of their lives is no way acceptable for civilised communities. It is not only the humanitarian reasons that make pre-mature release of lifers inevitable, but also the cost effectiveness of imprisonment. 

To incarcerate a person for life without the possibility of being released not only ignores two of the purposes of imprisonment - rehabilitation and reintegration into society - but also burdens the state exchequer. Hence, it is imperative that inmates who are undergoing life imprisonment be given a chance for life outside, instead of a ‘life’ inside, stated the affidavit.

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