P&H HC | Convicts cannot claim premature release as a matter of right if their cases are not squarely covered under the relevant Premature Release Policy

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Gurvinder Singh Gill, J. dismissed the petition on the grounds that the petitioner could be considered again for premature release only after he underwent the requisite period of imprisonment in terms of the policy of Premature Release dated 12-4-2002.

The petitioner approached the Court seeking quashing of the order whereby the case of the petitioner for his premature release had been rejected. The petitioner was convicted for having committed offences punishable under Sections 302/149, 148 IPC and Section 25 of Arms Act whereby he was sentenced to undergo imprisonment.  The petitioner had preferred an appeal challenging his conviction which was dismissed vide judgment dated 20-4-2009.

The premature release of the petitioner was declined by the State of Haryana since his case fell under Para 2(a)(xi), (xii) & (xiv) which corresponds to danger to public safety and heinous crime of the policy. The petitioner was involved in eight other criminal offences of murder, attempt to murder, dacoity, Arms Act, conspiracy, etc. He had been a parole jumper twice and thus he was considered to be a danger to public safety.

Also, his case should be considered after 14 years of actual sentence including under trial period provided that the total period of such sentence including remission is not less than 20 years. The petitioner had completed twelve years one month and twenty-eight days of actual sentence including under trial period.

The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that his case was squarely covered under policy dated 12-4-2002 issued by Government of Haryana which was applicable to the petitioner.

The learned State counsel submitted that the petitioner has remained involved in as many as 9 cases, which indicated that the petitioner was a habitual offender, thus, disentitling him for any benefit of premature release. It has further been submitted that the petitioner had also committed two jail offences regarding which FIR was registered.

High Court held that the convict could not claim his premature release as a matter of right and it is only if his case is squarely covered under the policy in existence at the time of conviction of the accused that he may be considered for his premature release. Such concession of premature release would only be extended to the convict keeping in view various factors including his conduct, behavior, antecedents and the likelihood of breach of peace in the eventuality of his release, etc. Further as per Para 4 of the policy dated 12-4-2002, the conduct during the last 5 years from the date of his eligibility for consideration of a premature release would be considered. The petitioner having been involved in the offence under Haryana Good Conduct Prisoners (Temporary Release) Act, 1988 in the year 2012 was disentitled to be considered during the next 5 years thus the impugned order rejecting the claim of the petitioner was justified. As such, the Court found no infirmity in the impugned order.

In view of the above-noted facts, the instant petition was dismissed and the recommendation of the State Level Committee against the premature release of the petitioner would be reconsidered after completion of 14 years actual sentence and 20 years total sentence as per policy dated 12-04-2002.[Parvesh v. State of Haryana, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 1760, decided on 18-09-2019]

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