Come August 15 and as many as 650 prisoners, serving life sentences in various jails of Madhya Pradesh, can join the mainstream Independence Day celebration.
After a year's gap the state government has proposed to use its power to grant remission on Independence Day and Republic Day to murder convicts with good conduct and those not accused of heinous crimes this year.
On January 26 and August 15 last year the remission of sentences was stalled due to a Supreme Court stay on premature release of any prisoner in the wake of the Tamil Nadu government's decision to excuse the remaining sentence of the Rajiv Gandhi's killers.
"After a gap of one year, this year the Supreme Court allowed the state governments to release prisoners on the occasion of Independence Day. The district-level committees, led by district collectors, (have) shortlisted (names of) prisoners and submitted a list of 650 prisoners to (the) jail headquarters. All these prisoners will be released on August 15," said RS Vijaywargiya, DI, law and order.
Of the 650 prisoners, 76 are from Bhopal Central Jail, said in-charge superintendent of the central jail in the state capital, LKS Bhadoria.
"This Independence Day would bring happiness to many prisoners…They were waiting for this day for so long. Because of the discontinuation of remission process, these prisoners were upset and were eagerly waiting for (the) Supreme Court to revoke the ban," Bhadoria added.
Freedom at last
According to the apex court’s order, the state government can release prisoners with good conduct, except those accused of rape, sedition and also prisoners whose investigation had been conducted by the Central government agencies.
The practice of remission of sentences of prisoners serving more than 14 years sentence was briefly discontinued by the Supreme Court after the Tamil Nadu government approved release of persons involved in assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi On July 24, the Supreme Court allowed the state government to remit prisoners.