The Madras High Court on Tuesday initiated contempt proceedings against the Home Secretary, the Additional Director General of Police, Prisons and Superintendent of Central Prison, Puzhal, for their failure to implement its order directing them to release a convict.

The Bench comprising Justices, S. Rajeswaran and P.N. Prakash took up the contempt proceedings following a habeas corpus petition filed by S. Mallika, whose son S.Ilango, a life convict has been languishing in Puzhal prison.

Ms. Mallika submitted that her son was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in a criminal case in 1995. In 2008, the State government ordered the premature release of 1,405 life convicts, who had completed seven years of actual imprisonment.

Though her son had fulfilled the eligibility conditions for premature release, he was not considered.

Following a petition from Mallika, the court last November ordered the authorities to release her son. As the authorities failed to implement the order, she filed the present habeas corpus petition.

When the matter came up before the Bench on Tuesday, the Additional Public Prosecutor sought further time to issue necessary orders.

Taking the suo motu contempt against the authorities, the Judges said, “Highly dissatisfied with the conduct of authorities herein, we are forced to issue contempt notice as against the first respondent (Home Secretary) who is competent authority to pass appropriate orders.”

Pointing out that the earlier order was passed on November 13, the Bench added: “There is no justification on the part of the prison authorities to await orders of the government. The order of the court should be complied with in letter and spirit without any hesitation. Unfortunately, that is not being done in this case, which had necessitated issue of contempt notices to all the respondents.”

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