Life convicts should serve 14 years before premature release

Life convicts should serve 14 years before premature release

Cabinet approves guidelines; 22 types of criminals ineligible, over 1,000 prisoners awaiting early freedom .

The State government has at last framed guidelines for premature release of prisoners in Karnataka. The Cabinet on Friday approved the guidelines as per which a life convict should have served at least 14 years in jail, including the remission period, to be eligible for premature release.

After the Cabinet meeting, Law Minister T B Jayachandra told reporters that there would be provision for parole and remission to prisoners who display good behaviour while serving their sentence. “Remission will be granted for one or two years. The remission period will be considered as sentence served,” he added.

But hardcore criminals and those convicted of heinous crimes such as terrorism, rape, offences against children, communal incidents, and economic offences related to forest, mines and minerals resources will not be released prematurely. The minister refused to confirm whether the government was again seeking the Governor’s consent for releasing prisoners on the upcoming
Republic Day.

The last time prisoners were released prematurely was in 2006 when 309 convicts were let free to mark the 50th anniversary of the formation of Karnataka. H D Kumara­swamy was chief minister at that time.

Every year after 2008, successive governments recommended the premature release of prisoners but Governor H R Bhardwaj refused consent, citing various judgments of the Supreme Court and the High Court of Karnataka. He raised certain pertinent questions which the governments did not answer. He had sought details of each and every prisoner the government wanted to release.

On the other hand, courts had taken exception to the practice of releasing prisoners and termed the remission granted by the Governor arbitrary. They also ordered the government to frame proper guidelines.

It is learnt that over 1,000 prisoners are awaiting premature release from jails in the State as per recommendations of previous governments.

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