How can convicts be released prematurely, HC asks Punjab govt

PIL moved against last years circular

State government’s policy of premature release of convicts, including rapists, after spending at least six years in jail has come under the scanner of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

On Tuesday, the court issued a notice to Punjab government, acting on a public interest litigation which sought quashing of August 8, 2011 circular providing remissions to life term convicts, including those convicted for rape.

Taking suo motu cognisance of a rape and suicide case, clubbed with the PIL filed by human rights activist H C Arora, the division bench of high court comprising Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain issued notice to the Badal government for January 22.  The court wondered as to how the state government could order premature release of rape convicts, even prior to the completion of seven years of the statutory sentence, which is the minimum sentence provided in case of conviction for rape under section 376 of Indian Penal Code.

Fast track trial

The High Court has given instructions to the state government for setting up fast track courts for the trial of rape cases. The Bench said it also intends to issue directions to
police officers regarding the manner in which the cases pertaining to crime against women have to be investigated.

Stressing on framing guidelines for conducting trials in such cases, the Bench requested Judicial Academy at Chandigarh to impart appropriate training to the judges who will man the fast track courts in pursuance to the instructions issued by Chief Justice. 
DH News Service

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