Punjab to reconsider early release of rape convicts

Drawing flak from various quarters over a provision that provides an option for premature release of rape convicts after six years in jail, the state government has now decided to reconsider its policy.

The provision was incorporated through a notification by the government on August 8, 2011.

Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate and Human Rights activist H C Arora has now challenged the notification in the High Court, which arguably tends to favour life convicts.
Arora said he has received a communiqué from the government which talks about changing the policy.

The communication reads: “The matter regarding amendment of the policy issued by government on August 8, 2011 is already under consideration, and after taking decision, the requisite amendment shall be made in the aforesaid policy.”

The clamour over harsher punishment for rapists may have resonated in the hearts of the majority- especially after the rape of the Delhi girl on the bus who later succumbed to injuries-

The government’s present policy has drawn severe criticism.

As per the provision, people convicted for rape or murder  can be prematurely released following the approval from the Governor.

The policy says that a life convict on rape charge is
entitled to seek premature release after spending six years in jail.

H C Arora in December had sent a legal notice to the Punjab Chief Secretary seeking to abolish this provision.

Arora said: “Such remissions are shocking to the national conscience.”

Social activist Hemant Goswami said murder after rape was one of the most heinous crimes. Remission of sentence to rapists should also not be granted in any circumstances.
A separate demand notice with the Punjab Governance Reforms Commission for making appropriate recommendations to the state government is also expected to bring in some substantial changes.

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