The Supreme Court has directed the Uttar Pradesh government to re-examine its policy for premature release of life term convicts prescribing a minimum age of 60 years saying prima-facie it does not seem to be sustainable.
A bench comprising Justices S K Kaul and M M Sundresh observed this while considering an appeal by a convict seeking a direction for his premature release from prison.
As per the policy, all convicts who have completed the age of 60 and have undergone custody of 20 years without remission and 25 years with remission, are eligible to be considered for premature release.
"We would like to express a great doubt on the validity of this clause prescribing a minimum age of 60 years which would imply that a young offender of 20 years will have to serve 40 years before his case for remission can be considered," the bench said.
"Though we are not required to test this aspect, we call upon the State Government to re-examine this part of the policy which prima-facie does not seems to be sustainable more so in view of the illustration we have just noted above and thus we call upon the State Government to take a fresh look at the insertion of this clause. The needful be done within four months," it said.
The top court directed the competent authority to consider the plea by the convict within three months.
"We, thus, issue a dual direction i.e. of consideration of the case of the petitioner for remission within three months and for consideration of the amendment to the Policy of 2021 within a period of four months...
"We may note that according to the counsel for the State the remission policy is also under challenge before this Court but then that cannot preclude the State itself from re-visiting the issue," the bench said in a recent order.
The apex court noted that the convict as on date has already served over 22 years in jail without remission and almost 28 years with remission and granted him bail.