The Punjab government has told the high court that only the state's inspector general of police (IGP) for prisons has the power to select any inmate for detention in an 'open' jail by recording reasons.
In its affidavit, the state has cited before the Punjab and Haryana high court the Punjab Open Air Jail Rules, 1978, for selection of prisoners for transfer from other jails to the Nabha open jail. The selections were made by a committee headed by the superintendent of the particular jail and the final call was taken by a committee headed by the IGP, prisons.
The government affidavit was filed on Friday on a petition seeking issuance of appropriate directions to Punjab to abolish extra concession of premature release given to life convicts lodged in Nabha jail.
The petition was filed by advocate HC Arora following release of a murder convict, Gurmeet Singh alias Pinki, from Nabha jail after completion of actual imprisonment of nine years. Leaing to his release in 2001, the government had granted him remission of one year even from the minimum sentence of 10 years required for premature release of lifers. The government has argued that release of Pinki was in accordance with the rules. The petition will come up for further hearing on January 29.
Arora has argued that this extra concession of one year being granted to the life convicts of Nabha jail should be abolished as other prisoners with life conviction would have to undergo 10 years of actual imprisonment before being eligible for consideration for premature release. Besides the one-year extra remission, the Nabha jail inmates have facility of recreational facilities at government expense. There is a special gratuity earning scheme and no restriction on the number of interviews by inmates with their relatives and friends. The prisoners are also entitled to additional clothing.