NATIONAL

SC stays release of convicts by Haryana Government

New Delhi Sept. 26. The Supreme Court today stayed the release of 165 prisoners convicted for heinous crimes in Haryana by remitting their sentences.

A Bench comprising Justice S.N. Variava and Justice H.K. Sema stayed the release on a public interest petition filed by an advocate alleging that the Om Prakash Chautala Government in the State had, in the last four years, released 275 life convicts after remitting their imprisonment period and was planning to release another 165 convicts.

The Bench issued notice on a petition filed by Anil Sharma and made it clear that the State Government should not release any more convicts by remitting their sentences during the pendency of the petition.

The petitioner contended that the State Government was releasing life convicts even before they had completed the mandatory 14 years of imprisonment. Giving a list of the convicts who had been released, counsel for the petitioner said the Supreme Court had categorically held in a 1991 judgment that no life convict could be released prematurely before serving the sentence of at least 14 years.

But the Haryana Government was releasing life convicts prematurely in complete violation of the provisions of law and the law settled by the apex court in a number of judgments, he said. The Government had, in complete violation of the provisions of Section 433-A of Cr. P.C., already released 275 convicts before the expiry of 14 years of sentence and again it had recommended the premature release of 165 life convicts just to appease Mr. Chautala's political cadre. The petitioner prayed for quashing the Government's order.

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