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76­-yr-­old terminally ill prisoner dies in Delhi’s Tihar jail waiting for review board meet

Govind, who had suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2016 and partial paralysis in 2017 was on the list of prisoners whose premature release was to be decided by the state government’s sentence review board on April 24 this year. However, a day before the meeting was supposed to take place, Delhi home minister Satyendar Jain, also the chairman of the board, postponed it.

delhi Updated: Jul 30, 2018 13:23 IST
Tihar Jail,Delhi Police,Delhi
Govind was lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail since his arrest in a murder case in1996 and convicted in 2000. (PTI File Photo )

More than two years after he was declared terminally ill and unfit for incarceration, 76-year-old Krishan Govind — a prisoner convicted of the murder of his neighbour — died waiting for a postponed sentence review board (SRB) meeting to discuss his release from Delhi’s Tihar jail.

On September 8, 1996, Govind and his son, Raju, had stabbed their neighbour Ram Niwas after a tiff broke out between Niwas’s wife, Shashi Kala and Govind’s wife over Kala spilling water inside Govind’s house. In 2000, both Govind and his son were convicted.

Govind, who had suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2016 and partial paralysis in 2017 was on the list of prisoners whose premature release was to be decided by the state government’s sentence review board on April 24 this year. However, a day before the meeting was supposed to take place, Delhi home minister Satyendar Jain, also the chairman of the board, postponed it.

Meanwhile, Govind — who was in jail since 1996 — died at Safdarjung Hospital on July 6.

Three days after his death, the government announced July 26 as the next date for the meeting. In that meeting, the board agreed to release 25 prisoners, five of whom are elderly, one is terminally ill, four are HIV positive and one is physically disabled.

Govind’s family member said the details of his case were also uploaded in the application for his early release. His name was number 5 on the list of prisoners whose case was to have been considered by the sentence review board on April 24.

On April 30, Hindustan Times had reported about the cases of 21 elderly and terminally ill prisoners, who were waiting for the government to hold the sentence review board meet. The report also highlighted Govind’s case. The Delhi High Court, hearing a petition filed by a city advocate on the basis of the HT report, issued notices to the government and jail authorities on May 9 seeking an explanation as to why the meeting was not held despite directives being issued that it should be held once every three months.

In the petition, the advocate told the court that while it is mandatory to hold a sentence review board meeting once every three months, the government had not held one since December 14 last year.

A jail officer, who did not wish to be named, said, “The sentence review board is convened by the state government. The cases of all prisoners, who meet the criteria and are eligible for premature release, are placed before the board. The final recommendation is subject to the board’s decision. The date for the sentence review board meeting is decided by the government. In any case, these are cases for premature release before completion of term and subject to the satisfaction of the board and not as a matter of right.”

Home minister Satyendar Jain was not available for comment despite repeated calls and text messages from the HT.

The sentence review board, comprises the state home minister as it chairman, the prison’s director general, state home secretary, state law secretary, a district judge, the government’s chief probationary officer and a joint commissioner rank office from Delhi Police.

Last Thursday, the sentence review board deferred their decision to release convicts Manu Sharma and Sushil Sharma. Manu Sharma, son of former union minister Venod Sharma, was convicted of the murder of model Jessica Lal. Sushil Sharma, former Congress youth leader, was convicted of the murder of his wife Naina Sahni, in what came to be known as Tandoor murder case.

First Published: Jul 30, 2018 13:23 IST