Jammu: A High Powered Committee constituted by the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Wednesday directed authorities to release convicts on a parole of eight weeks to decongest jails following the spread of coronavirus.
The panel headed by High Court Judge Justice Rajesh Bindal has directed the authorities to consider release on several categories of convicts on special parole for eight weeks, extendable for another eight weeks if the lockdown by the government continues, subject to good conduct, an official handout released this evening said.
According to the panel, all those who have been convicted in one case only and have spent more than ten years (eight years in case of women) in jail, except those involved in militancy related cases, convicted for intermediate or large quantity recovery under NDPS Act or convicted under POCSO Act or convicted for offence for an offence against woman, or convicted for offence of acid attack or foreign nationals.
“The panel has also directed the authorities to consider release of all those who have been sentenced to imprisonment for three years with or without fine and the conviction has been upheld by the Appellate Court but revision against the judgment by Appellate Court is pending before the High Court,” the handout said
It added that all those who have completed their sentence but are still in prison due to non-payment of fine should be considered for parole, the panel has directed.
The panel also comprising Principal Secretary Home and DGP Prisons has also directed authorities to examine cases of prisoners with advanced age and suffering from any illness on case to case basis.
The committee has recommended 60 days interim bail for under-trial prisoners, extendable for another period in case the circumstances demand, on furnishing surety and personal bond.
According to the panel, all under-trial prisoners against whom only one case pending against them, in which maximum prescribed sentence is seven years or less with or without fine.
“Matters pertaining to prisoners with advanced age, suffering from any illness may be examined on case to case basis,” the panel has directed.
The under trail prisoners falling under Section 436 CrPC , charged with compoundable offences and detained under sections 107, 108, 109 and 151 of CrPC.
According to the panel, these detainees shall appear before the magistrate concerned for appropriate orders when the lockdown is over.
The committee has directed that undertrails detained for non-payment of maintenance ordered under section 488/125 CrPC shall appear before the court concerned for appropriate orders on the date so fixed.
The undertrails detained under the Code of Civil Procedure for not obeying the decree/order of the court shall appear before the court concerned for appropriate orders on the date so fixed.
The procedure laid by the committee for grant of interim bail shall be dealt with either by the visiting judges in the jails (DSJ/ADJ/CJM/JMIC) on the bail applications in the jail itself or alternatively by devising a mechanism of routing the bail applications through DLSA to the courts convened especially for this purpose.
Use of technology may be preferred instead of manual intervention. Since the compliance of directions issued requires relaxation of J&K Suspension of Sentence Rules, 2020, as such, government is requested to treat the matter with utmost urgency, so that the directions issued by the Supreme Court as well as by the High Power Committee are implemented at the earliest.
All the Principal District and Sessions Judges, who are Chairman of district UTRCs of their respective districts are requested to comply with the directions of HPC with regard to under-trial prisoners and submit the report within one week for placing the same before the HPC on 10.04.2020
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