Convict Arim Dey @ China Bagha Vs. Union of India & Ors  INSC 58 (15
S. N. Phukan
J V D
G M E N T PHVKAN, J.
this common judgment we propose to dispose of six writ petitions filed under
Article 32 of the Constitution as the points involved in all the petitions are
petitions have been filed on behalf of "life convicts" as their
prayer tor pre-mature release was rejected by the Government of West Bengal.
The common grievance is that though they are entitled for pre-mature release
under relevant rules, their prayer was rejected by the Government on extraneous
settled position of law that life sentence is nothing less than lifelong
imprisonment and by earning remissions a life convict does not acquire a right
to be released prematurely; but if the Government has framed any rule or made a
scheme for early release of such convicts then those rules or schemes will have
to be treated as guidelines for exercising its power under Article 161 of the
Constitution and if according to the Government policy/insructions in force at therelevant
time the life convict has already undergone the sentence for the period
mentioned in the -poliey/instructions, then the onlv rightt which a life
convict can be said to have acquired is The right to have his case put up by
the prison authorities in time belore the authorities concerned considering
exercise of power under Article 161 of the Constitutlon. When an authority is
called upon to exercise its powers under Article 161 of the Constitution that
will have to be done consistently with the legal position and the .Government
policy/instructions prevalent at that time. _ ; Sub-rules (4) ^ (29) of Rub 591
of the West Bengal Rules relating to premature release of life .convict run as
""In considering the cases of prisoilers submitted to it under sub«rutes(i)
and (2). the State Government shall take mto consideration - (1) the
circumstances m each case. (n) the character of the coirnct^ crime, (iii) his
conduct inprison and (iv) the probabuityofhisrevertmg.tocnmmalhabits -. or
instigating others to commit crime, ^lfthe State Government is satisfied that
the prisoner can be released wilhout any danger to the society or to the public
it may take steps for issue of orders for his release under section 401 of the
Code of criminal Procedure. 1898" "(29) - Every case in which a
convict, who has not received the benefit of any of the foregoing rulea.. is
about to complete a period of 20 years of continued detention. including
remission earned, if any. shall be submitted three months before such
completion by thc Superintendent of the Jail . in which the convict is lor the
time being detained, hrough the Inspector-General, for orders of the State
Government, if the convict's jail records during, the last three years of his
detentions are found to be satisfactory the State Government may remit the
remainder of his sentence." - All the "lite convicts" before us
have 'completed continued detention of 20 years including remission earned.
the counter filed by tlie State, we find thatt the Government lias also framed guidelines
for this purpose.
consider the prayer for premature release of the "life convicts",
police report was called for on the following points:- . i) Whether the offence
is an individual act of crime without affecting the society at large;
Whether here .is any chance of future recurrence of committing crimes '.
Whether thie convict has lost hiss potentiality in committing crime. iv) Whether
there is any fruitful purpose of confining this convict anv more:
Socio-economic condition of rise convict's family.
the police report did not cover ail the 3.
points. t'ne. prayer of "life convicts" for premature release was
rejected numjy on the ground of objections by police, The police had only
reported about the chances of the ptitioiiers committing crime again. It
becomes apparent from the record that the Government did not consider the
prayer for premature release as per the rules.
Government did not pay sufficient attention to the conduct-record of the
petitioners while in jail nor did it consider whether they had lost their
potentiality in committing crime. The relevant aspect, namely, that there is nofruitful
purpose in confining them any more was also not considered nor the socio
economic conditions of the convict's family were taken into account. Thus the
orders of the Government suffer from infirmities and are liable to be quashed.
result, we set aside all the orders of the State Government and direct the
authorities to re-consider the cases fo rpremature release of all "life
convicts" who have approached us by filing present Writ Petitions as per
relevant rules/guidelines within a period of one monh from the receipt of this
Writ Petitions arc allowed to the extem mdicated above.