Goa bench of Bombay High Court comprising of Justice MS Sonak and Justice MS Jawalkar allowed the petition of a life convict under Section 302 of IPC (Murder) and directed him to be granted premature release as he has already spent 20 years of his imprisonment in jail.
The court said that no doubt the crime committed by accused was a serious crime because of which he was imprisoned for life. But he has already spent his 20 crucial years in prison and the reformative element must be taken care of.
While considering the case for premature release the court observed that-
- State Sentence Review Board had rejected Petitioner’s application for premature release on 7 occasions, basically on the ground of seriousness of offence and the objections from the victim’s family members;
- The Sessions Court had taken into consideration the seriousness of the crime and opined that 19 years’ incarceration was sufficient taking into consideration the reformative element.
In the matter the Court also elucidated the principles which was set by the Apex Court in the case of Sangeet & Anr. V. State of Haryana, which was for release of prisoners. It pointed out that while considering an application for premature release, the Government must obtain the opinion (with reasons) of the Presiding Judge of the Convicting or the Confirming Court. The court in this case also held that- “a prisoner serving a life sentence has no indefeasible right to release on completion of either 14 years or 20 years in prison. He is expected to remain in custody till the end of his life, subject to any remission granted by the appropriate Government under Section 432 of the Cr.PC. which, in turn, is subject to the procedural checks in that Section and the substantive check in Section 433-A of the Cr.PC.”
The bench also said that the petitioner’s early release cannot be denied only because apprehensions were expressed by the victim’s family. There was no allegation that the petitioner interfered with the family members of the victim or with any of the witnesses who may have deposed against him even when he was on parole.