Published On: October 07, 2021 at 15:53 IST
The Supreme Court demanded all High Courts in the separate Criminal Appeals filed by Life Convicts and other convicts along with the period of their imprisonment to enable a consistent approach on preliminary release of prisoners found languishing in Jail without Bail or Remission for a sustained period.
The Order came on a prayer of three lawyers Gaurav Agrawal, Devansh Mohta and Liz Mathew assisting the top court as amicus curiae who scrutinized the position in High Courts of Delhi and Chhattisgarh where such an exercise was successfully conducted by the respective legal service committees.
In Delhi High Court, 232 Appeals were unresolved where the prison sentence varied from three to twenty years.
In Chhattisgarh High Court, the pendency was divided into two categories – 1,162 appeals where the sentence is up to 10 years and 2,878 appeals where the sentence is above 10 years.
A Bench comprising of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh, who were influenced by the duties done by the two High Courts, noted a similar exercise to be undertaken by the legal service committees of all High Courts.
Furthermore, it informed the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to spread this Order and observe the exercise in each High Court.
The Court also demanded the legal service committees to survey if convicts who have undergone a substantial amount of their sentence are primed to withdraw their appeal from the High Court and get released.
“This, however, will be voluntary and will not affect the prisoner’s right to file an appeal,” the Bench clarified.
The Bench further informed NALSA to study the cases where convicts are entitled for early release or Bail in cases where a substantial period of the sentence was over.
About Remission cases, Advocate Liz Mathew stated that the NALSA scheme for time-bound disposal of remission requests was dropped off in three states, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, by July 7 order.
The Court Orders were released on a Petition filed by one Sonadhar who had undergone fourteen years imprisonment but had to hold-up for three years for his Remission to get noticed.
The Court demanded NALSA to study the pendency position across the country in the situation of Remission applicants and discovered over 1,649 prisoners were suffering in prison awaiting a notification on their Remission Petition for early release.
NALSA highlighted in the Court that the delay was due to the absence of a deadline to decide the remission pleas.
The Court informed the issue for further Trial in February next year.