Delhi government’s response sought over plea on convicts’ premature release

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government to file its response to a plea for transparency in the premature release of convicts.

The court was hearing a petition by social activist and lawyer Amit Sahni seeking impartiality and fairness in the working and functioning of the Sentence Review Board which considers the cases of convicts for pre-mature release.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajender Menon and Justice V. Kameswar Rao listed the matter for further hearing on January 31, and said it appeared that premature release was being granted on the whims and fancies of the Board.

Appearing for Amit Sahni, senior advocates, including Sanjay Jain, N. Hariharan and R.N. Mittal, argued the cases of premature release of convicts are not dealt with impartially and extraneous considerations affect the decision of the sentence review board.

The counsels said the issue is very serious in nature and requires the indulgence of this court. They also suggested that convicts who are seeking premature release be masked with numbers so that their caste or religion is not known to the board.

Lawyer Sahni, through his petition, has made representation to the government after the death of a convict Sikander in jail on November 23.

Sikander, a senior citizen, aged about 62 years, had undergone 28 years of incarceration. He died in Tihar Jail, awaiting his premature release. He was serving life imprisonment for killing a relative.

Sahni argued the rule says a person cannot be kept in custody for more than 25 years.