Madurai

HC dismisses life convict’s plea for premature release

Madurai

Dismissing a petition filed by life convict P. Veera Bhaarathi seeking a direction to the State government to consider his request for premature release, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Tuesday made it clear that premature release was not a matter of right.

Life sentence means that it is for the entire life, a Division Bench of Justices S. Vaidyanathan and G. Jayachandran said. The court took note of the fact that the Advisory Board had found the convict was not fit for premature release and did not recommend it.

It said that Rule 339 of the prison manual contemplates the procedure to be adopted by the Advisory Board constituted for considering premature release. The history of the prisoner, circumstances of criminal behaviour and conduct in prison should be noted.

Also, the board should note the response to the training and treatment, notable changes in attitude, degree of criminality, health and mental health conditions, possibility of resettlement after release and circumstances not before the court at the time of the conviction.

Considering the merits of the case based on prison records and submissions made by the life convict, the Advisory Board rejected the request. The government accepted the recommendation.

The court took note of the fact that the convict had served more than 14 years in jail. He was granted emergency and ordinary leave more than 100 times. He obtained parole on the grounds that he wants to effectively contest the application.

Under Rule 339 of the Tamil Nadu Prison Rules, good conduct was one of the factors for considering premature release. It was not the only factor. There were other factors that were not favourable to the convict. Therefore, he was found unfit for premature release.

The State government was the final authority to exercise the power of remission. It accepted the recommendation of the Advisory Board to reject the request of the convict. The scope of the court while exercising its power under judicial review was very limited, the judges said.

Veera Bhaarathi who argued the case party-in-person challenged the government order that rejected his request. In 1999, Virudhunagar Principal Sessions Court convicted him and two others on the charges of rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl.

The sessions court imposed the death sentence on the convict. The Madras High Court in 2000 commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment and the Supreme Court also upheld the life sentence.


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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 1:38:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/hc-dismisses-life-convicts-plea-for-premature-release/article37774814.ece

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