Delhi Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna’s has rejected the sentence review board’s recommendations to commute the life sentence of eight convicts, evoking strong reaction from chief minister Sheila Dikshit.
Asking him to review the decision, the chief minister in a letter to the L-G explained the “logic” behind the decision to waive off the remaining sentence."The sentence review board consists of members from all departments concerned, including Delhi police, Tihar jail administration, the district court and the state home department. The board takes a view after going through the conduct of the convict, the time he has spent in jail and various other factors. Until now, it has been the usual practice that the L-G accepts the recommendation of the board," Dikshit said.
The sentence review board, chaired by the CM, who also holds the charge of the home department, had on August 8 decided to free eight life convicts who had already served a few years in jail.
The file was sent to the L-G for his concurrence and a notification. The LG, however, sought a report from Delhi Police on each of the convicts. He later rejected the board’s recommendation, saying the police’s report was adverse.
“The police’s report is based on the crime of the convict. But after committing the crime, the accused faced trial and served a few years in jail. The board not only takes a view of the crime and the circumstances in which the crime was committed, but also of various other factors such as the conduct of the convict in jail, his behaviour with other convicts, his family, his responsibilities, his chances of reforming and the possibility of his getting back to the mainstream without being a danger to the life of anyone,” said a senior Delhi government official.
Sources said the jail authorities’ report on a convict’s behaviour is considered by the sentence review board in their meeting held every few weeks. “The sentence is commuted only after the board is completely satisfied,” the official added.