Punjab & Haryana High Court: Convicts Have No Inherent Right to Premature Release

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Published on: 16 September 2023 at 13:53 IST

The Punjab & Haryana High Court, clarified that there is no absolute right for a convict to be unconditionally released upon the expiration of a specific term, including remissions. [Case Title: Subhash v. State of Haryana and Ors.]

Also Read: When can a prisoner be released early? – Law Insider India

The Court emphasized that life imprisonment signifies the entire life of the convict behind bars, dismissing the notion of an indefeasible right to premature release.

In a case where the State Level Committee decided to monitor the petitioner’s conduct due to his criminal history, postponing his case for consideration after two years, Justice Jasjeet Singh Bedi, presiding over a Single Judge Bench, delivered this verdict.

The case revolved around a petitioner serving a life sentence under Sections 460 and 411 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). In line with a policy issued on April 12, 2002, the petitioner had submitted all required documents for potential premature release. However, the State Level Committee recommended deferring the petitioner’s premature release until 20 years of actual sentence completion and 25 years of total sentence.

Subsequently, the petitioner submitted a fresh request for premature release, only to have it deferred for an additional two years by the relevant authority.

After careful consideration, the Bench recognized that the State Government has formulated policies for the premature release of life convicts over time, taking into account factors such as the inmate’s behavior in prison, the severity and nature of the offense, among others.

Nevertheless, the Court clarified that these policies represent concessions offered by the State Government and do not grant an absolute right to early release. The High Court, therefore, dismissed the petitioner’s plea but stressed that the appropriate government must issue a separate order remitting any unexpired portion of the sentence if warranted.

Also Read: Article 20: Protections in respect of conviction of offence – Law Insider India

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