SRB meetings be held every quarter to consider prisoners' plea for sentence remission: HC
The Delhi High Court today directed the AAP government and prison authorities to ensure that the Sentence Review Board (SRB) holds meetings, at least every quarter.
The Delhi High Court today directed the AAP government and prison authorities to ensure that the Sentence Review Board (SRB) holds meetings, at least every quarter, to consider the pleas for the remission of the jail term of prisoners, some of whom are elderly and "languishing" in the Tihar Jail for 20-25 years.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued the direction while saying that the authorities were to follow the SRB order of 2004, which laid down the guidelines for holding the meetings, in letter and spirit.
The court further directed that the Board shall ensure adjudication of the requests for premature release is scrutinized according to the guidelines laid down in the SRB order.
The bench also said that the SRB should on its own also conduct a review of the jail term of all the prisoners whose incarceration has exceeded 20 years.
Apart from that, the Board was also directed by the court to ensure reasons are assigned by SRB for approving or rejecting any request for premature release by a prisoner.
"If courts can give reasons, you (SRB) too jolly well can," the bench said and disposed of the PIL by advocate Sumeet Verma who had contended that meetings of the Board are not held as often as they should be.
Verma had said in his plea that any further delay in consideration of the cases of the inmates by the SRB would be "absolutely arbitrary and contrary to the constitutional scheme".
He had said that SRB meetings were required to be held at least every quarter, but in practice, they are held twice or maximum thrice a year and this has been the trend for the last several years.
The plea had also said that over 150 prisoners' cases were due to be reviewed by the SRB for premature release, but the Board was yet to meet after its meeting in December last year.
Verma had also said that many of the prisoners languishing in the jail for 20-25 years were not habitual offenders and have been maintaining an overall good conduct.
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