The Telangana High Court recently comprising of a bench of Justice K Lakshman stated that there is no uniformity in India regarding the remission and premature release of convicts, and that there is a need for a complete policy for rehabilitation, which should include premature release.

The Bench stated, India does not have a Uniform Policy for premature release of prisoners. The law provides for executive remissions, which is completely based on discretion. The said discretion is based on the basis of guidelines framed at state level. There is no minimum standard that the states have to keep in mind when drafting these schemes.”

The petitions were filed by relatives of convicts who was sentenced to life imprisonment seeking remission in light of the Court’s earlier order directing the authorities to recommend names of such life convicts for special remission under the remission policy.

The Court after reviewing the relevant legislation, Court decisions on the matter, and the history of remission policy in India concluded that there is a need for a reformatory criminal Justice System.

The Bench further noted that the comprehensive rehabilitation approach is the subject of heated debate. There is also criticism that early release from prison is viewed as an escape from the jail’s destructive influence. Prisons are thought to be a breeding place for criminal thoughts. Rehabilitation must be the major goal of prison policy.

When it comes to the specific facts of the writ petitions and cases involving remission of life sentences, the Court instructed the State to consider their arguments as well as the actual sentence and total sentence completed by the respective life convicts, including the remand period and remission earned, as well as the principle established by the Supreme Court and other High Courts.

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