The Maharashtra government is set to start reducing the sentences of prisoners who have completed 14 years behind bars, following a Supreme Court order.
At least 500 prisoners will be considered after an order was issued to all state governments by the Ministry of Home Affairs last week.
The order was issued after the Supreme Court partially relaxed its stay on the practice on July 23. In February 2014, the apex court had stayed the practice of reducing the sentences of life-term convicts.
The stay was imposed after Tamil Nadu government proposed reducing the sentences of those responsible for Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. All state governments were restrained from using their powers of reducing the penalties under sections 432 and 433 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
“After the Supreme Court lifted its stay, partially allowing us to reduce sentences, we are considering about 500 files. The SC has categorically directed to not consider those punished for rape. The convicts from the cases investigated by Central agencies will also not be considered,” said a home department official.
The home department decides on remissions based on the nature of the crime and the conduct of the prisoners.
“Remission is considered only after the completion of 14 years of the life term. The decision is based on the reports by the jail authorities. Most of the cases of the life term are booked under section 302 of IPC, but other aspects are taken into consideration. If the crime has taken place at the spur of the moment, the convict gets remittance immediately after completion of the 14 years,” the official added.