The government’s amnesia has landed two 65-year-olds from Varanasi in jail.
Ten years after the Allahabad High Court quashed an Uttar Pradesh government notification granting remission to the convicts, the police re-arrested Kamta and Lalji in January this year citing the court order.
The duo has approached the Supreme Court, which has issued asked the state government to respond to the petition.
The petitioners prayed for their release, saying their arrest was belated. They said the government order of 2000 was correct and the court had passed the order without hearing those who were affected by it.
Their advocate, S.M. Tripathi, said, “After their release, the two started families in Ram Nagar, Varanasi, and have grandchildren of marriageable age. They had already spent 18 years before being released on January 26, 2000. The two were convicted for murder.”
Tripathi added that society had accepted the two, who were reformed after their release.
“They were not even absconding. Therefore, the police cannot even claim that they could not trace and re-arrest the two in accordance with the HC order. Their arrest after 10 years is in violation of human rights.”
The government had on January 11, 2000, granted premature release of the prisoners on Republic Day. Kamta and Lalji were released on the basis of the notification. The validity of the remission order was challenged before the high court, which quashed the government notification on September 27, 2001.
Subsequently, the state government on March 14, 2002 modified the remission order and directed the re-arrest of all the convicts who were released earlier.
The mass release of prisoners by governments on Independence Day and Republic Day has been a controversial issue.