The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Punjab home secretary to file his personal reply by giving details of all premature release cases of jail inmates pending with the government at various levels for more than six months and also to give reasons for the pendency.
The directions came from the court headed by justice Amol Rattan Singh on a petition filed by Bathinda jail inmate Sukkar Singh. The petitioner has been behind bars for the past more than 11 years in a murder case.
An FIR was registered against the petitioner in 2002 at the Bathinda police station in a murder case and he was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Bathinda court in 2003.
The court was informed that as per the Punjab government's policy issued on July 8, 1991, a life convict becomes eligible for premature release after completing 10 years in jail. The jail superintendent of the Bathinda district jail had on March 19, 2012, forwarded the request for premature release in Sukkar's case to the state government as per the policy provisions.
The court was informed that since then the request was pending before the state government. On the previous date of hearing, the court had sought a reply from the principal secretary (department of jails), Punjab, as to why the petitioner's case had been pending for the past one year without a decision thereupon and also to inform about such cases pending for more than six months.
As the reply was filed by the Bathinda jail superintendent without specifically answering the court's questions, the court rejected it and refused to take it on record.The court has granted two weeks' time to the home secretary to file the reply.