Among the 12,000-odd inmates of Tihar central jail, a group of four stands out: Sentenced to 10-14 years' imprisonment for offences that include murder, they won't live to serve the full jail term.
But hope of an early release still flickers for these four "incurably sick" inmates, who are not expected to live longer than six months.
Tihar administration recently informed the Delhi government about the need to frame guidelines to release "terminally sick" inmates before term end on humanitarian grounds.
Confirming this, jail's law officer Sunil Gupta told HT: "These four inmates are afflicted with ailments like cancer, HIV and lung failure…they might not survive beyond six months. We have requested the Delhi state government to frame guidelines for their early release as per a Delhi High Court direction."
The convicts serving jail terms, who found a mention in the jail's communication, are Balbir Singh, Ramlal Prabhati Lal, Rajinder Singh and Mohsin Khan. While Balbir Singh, Lal and Rajinder Singh are serving 14-year life sentences for murder, Khan is undergoing a jail term of 10 years for offences related to the Wildlife Act.
A prison Medical Board of three doctors had earlier identified them as "terminally sick". At present, these four are admitted in the jail's indoor hospital.
The HC had directed the state to frame guidelines within two months to improve the plight of terminally-ill prisoners. The government was told to frame a set of rules, if any, to list out terminally ill undertrials for immediate trial.
To comply with the court directive, the jail administration has also prepared a list of four "terminally sick undertrials".
"Besides, the government should also look into the possibility of withdrawing the prosecution against a terminally sick undertrial since he/she might die before the completion of the trial," said Gupta.