Recently many Pre-mature releases of convict applications are undergoing in courts. What is premature release? Why convicts were released before completing sentences? When convicts are released before their judicial custody depends on certain criteria of every convict then it is called premature release. The concept of premature release of convicts is synonymous with the concept of ‘Parole’. The premature release policy is based on the reformation philosophy, which decides on a prisoner has absorbed his criminal tendencies through correctional treatment. On August 1, 2018, a premature release policy came, in which prisoners are eligible for release after undergoing 16 years of the actual sentence. On July 28, 2021, State amended the policy and applicable to only those prisoners who attained 60 years of age. This policy is currently under challenge in the Supreme Court. The power of remission is under Article 161 of the Constitution of India and Sections 432, 433, and 433A of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.
WHY PREMATURE RELEASE OF CONVICTS?
According to Data, the prison population 77% is under trial, and 22% of convicts, with almost half of the under trial in prison, are from more than 2 years. A total of 5,54,000 prisoners and 4,27,000 were awaiting trial, out of which 24,033 under trial were already in jail. The occupancy rate of prisons is 130%. There are various reasons for the pre-release of prisoners such as those who have lost their potential for committing crime considering their overall conduct in jail, with a minimum of 14 years of conviction. The social and economic condition of their family. When courts or any other high-profile government staff reclaim the convict as a respected member of society. There is less number of prisons as compared to prisoners. When a convict is released there is a higher possibility of getting the convict gets settled in society. The union cabinet has approved the prerelease of convicts on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and gives special remission to those convicts who have completed half the period of their sentence. The confinement of a convict beyond the time of reformation is unjust and inhumane. This will lead to reducing overcrowding in prisons and the cost of the prison administration also reduces. Confining prisoners who are old, sick, and incapable of committing any crime is a liability of the department. The conduct of the prisoners while in jail plays an important factor as they have lost their potential of committing a crime or not. For the premature release of prisoners, each state has an ‘Advisory board’ consisting of the chief or secretary of jails, district magistrate, and superintendent of police within the jurisdiction of the situated prison.
Power to suspend or revoke sentences– According to the Section 432 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, when a person has been sentenced and punished for an offense, the government may, at that time, with any condition or without any condition can sentence or revoke the full or part of the punishment to which he was sentenced. Here the expression “appropriate government” means- law relating to the matter on which the power of central and union governments. Suspension of stay or postponement of the sentence. In revocation of a sentence, the duration of time is reduced, without any effect on the nature of the sentence.
CASE LAWS ON SUSPENSION OF SENTENCES: –
Then, the appropriate Government is defined by the Supreme Court of India in the entries of 36 and 93 of the union list in the 7th schedule of the Constitution. The Union Government is appropriate about offenses under the Sections.
In this case, it was held that the governor can permit a full remission during the timeline of a case in the judiciary. Such pardon is after completely absolving punishment of the convict.
In this case, the fact remains the same the conviction is correct but it only reduces the punishment in part or whole. Remission of a sentence does not mean being free from the charge of an offence committed before.
Article 142 of the Indian Constitution provides extraordinary powers to the Supreme Court on their jurisdiction to they may pass such decree or judgment for doing complete justice in cause or matter pending before. The Supreme Court exercised its powers in Rajiv Gandhi case, where convicts were released. Article 161 of the Indian constitution empowers the governor can change the sentences in certain cases against any law matter to which the executive power of the state exists.
Power of substituting the sentence– According to the Section 433 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 that the government can substitute the sentence without the consent of the prisoner – A sentence of death, imprisonment for life, or a meticulous sentence.
Restriction on powers of revocation or substitution– According to the Section 433A of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 that when a convict is sentenced to life imprisonment then the person should not be released from prison if he has served a minimum of 14 years of imprisonment.
From the above information, we have come to know that premature release of convicts or remission of convicts under Article 161 of the Indian Constitution and Sections 432, 433, and 433A of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 is under the Supreme Court decision. This policy has its advantages and disadvantages in society. A prisoner can be released before their imprisonment timeline under certain conditions as per appropriate government members. A lot of voices come against when the premature release of convicts’ judgment was given as society were not able to connect with the convicts and their family. Society should give them a chance to prove as they become a responsible and respected person in society and will be a part of the development of the country. We should see it as the human rights perspective in nature.
Author(s) Name: Pratham Khandelwal (Institute of Law, Nirma University)