The Haryana government told the Punjab and Haryana high court that it had finalised the cases of 89 life convicts for premature release from the state prisons.
Additional advocate general Sandeep Moudgil told division bench of justice SK Mittal and justice HS Sidhu on Thursday that as a model code of conduct was in place for panchayat elections, these prisoners could not be released.
But a committee headed by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, also the jail minister, had cleared 61 cases for release in October 2015 and 28 cases after that. More than 74 other cases had been identified, which would be considered after the panchayat elections, Moudgil told the high court bench.
The life convicts are those who would be released prematurely in the wake of July 2015 decision of SC, whereby the states were allowed to release and consider premature release of certain category of life convicts. The information was given during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation wherein the high court is monitoring welfare activities to convicts and undertrials in the jails of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. The government also informed the court that there were 117 sick prisoners in six jails of the state who were lodged either in separate barracks or wards.
During the hearing on Thursday, the Centre sought more time to file its response on the instances of overstay of foreign prisoners in Punjab jails. The high court had sought Centre’s response following Punjab and told the court that nearly 38 foreign nationals who have completed their sentences were either in jails or in transit camps as they could not be released without prior permission from the central government. But, the Centre was not responding to state’s letters on the matter.
The matter would further come up for hearing on April 27.