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Punjab Govt Ready To Release 145 Convicts Serving Or Finished Serving Life Sentences

Activist Gurbax Singh Ends Fast As Detainees Lakhwinder Singh and Shamsher Singh Released!

Sikh activist Gurbaksh SinghKhalsa (pic) on Friday ended his44-day fast as the PunjabGovernment released twodetainees — Lakhwinder Singhand Shamsher Singh —from theBurail jail in Chandigarh. AkalTakht Jathedar Giani GurbachanSingh offered juice to GurbakshSingh Khalsa at the GoldenTemple complex.

CHANDIGARH – The PunjabGovernment is mulling the prematurerelease of 145 convictsundergoing life term in jailsacross the state. The case filesare being cleared at a fast paceand the release orders areexpected by December 31. Thecases are being dealt at variouslevels -district magistrate, districtpolice chief and jail department- in the state government,said sources.Activist Gurbakash SinghKhalsa has brought theissue of life term convicts,who have completed theirsentence, to the fore. Hewas on indefinite hungerstrike seeking the releaseof six Sikh detainees.In all, cases of 208 convictswere taken up for prematurerelease, said sources.However, only 145 conformedto the state government’s newpolicy that was notified in Aprilthis year. As many as 58 caseswere rejected.There are fiveprisoners convicted underTADA, but only three of themhave completed 14 years of jailterm. They would be eligible forrelease only after completing 18years of sentence as there is noprovision of remission in jailterm for those convicted underTADA. Other two, one of thema woman from Jammu, havecompleted 10-11 years of theirsentence. Sources said ChiefMinister Parkash Singh Badalhad recently sought a detailedreport of such convicts fromthe authorities concerned.Superseding all its previous policies,the state government hadnotified a tough new policy onApril 4, 2013, for the prematurerelease of those sentenced tolife imprisonment.The changes were made afterthe December 16 Delhi gangrapecase that had triggered ahuge outrage in the country.Under the new policy, there is aprovision not to order prematurerelease of those convictedin rape cases and the NDPS Act.The policy gives the state governmentpower to deny prematurerelease to any convict.Under the policy, the Governorunder Article 161 of theConstitution has a power toorder premature release even ofthose convicts, whose sentenceis commuted to life sentencefrom death sentence.In such cases, the convicts, whohave completed 14 years in jail,after deducting 6 years of remission,can apply for prematurerelease through the governmentand the Governor can allow it.In murder cases, those who havecompleted actual jail term of 10years, after remission of 4 yearsin the sentence, can seek prematurerelease and the Governorcan allow it. The policy alsoempowers the Chief Minister toorder premature release underSection 432 and 433 of theCrPC. However, he can recommendthe premature release tothe Governor only in caseswhere convicts have undergoneactual imprisonment for 14years in murder case and in nonmurdercases, where there is aprovision of life imprisonment,for 10 years.For those undergoing lifeimprisonment under TADA,official sources said, the CentralGovernment appears to be theappropriate authority to orderthe premature release. Officialsources said there was a wordappropriate authority in theCrPC and in such cases theappropriate authority is theCentre like other acts such asCustoms, Foreign Exchange.”As there is an element ofdoubt in this regard, the matterwas being discussed with legalexperts”, said the official.

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