In a move that will empower the state government to impose higher prison sentences on convicts, especially terrorists, the Bombay high court has held that the state has the discretion to do so under their 1992 guidelines.
The court declined to grant any relief to an accused convicted under TADA in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. The convict, Salim Mira Shaikh alias Salim Kutta, had challenged the 60 years imprisonment imposed on him by the state.
Shaikh had stated that the state home department had erred in holding that the 1992 guidelines for premature release cannot be made applicable to Shaikh.
Shaikh’s petition came in the wake of a similar case in which the home department had revoked their order of 60 years imprisonment for a Khalistani terrorist, Nishant Singh, following a high court order setting aside the state’s decision as unreasonable.
Shaikh had pointed out in the petition that the government completely overlooked the provisions under the 1978 guidelines, which squarely covers the petitioner’s case.
The clause provides for minimum of 14 years of actual imprisonment including set-off period but can go up to 30 years by taking into consideration the political philosophy and means to acquire political powers by terrorists and extremists groups. Additional public prosecutor Prajakta Shinde said since Shaikh’s case fell under TADA for terror charges the court has upheld the state’s power to impose higher sentence.