State of Haryana Vs.
Bhup Singh & Ors.  INSC 2230 (18 December 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 2064-2066 OF 2008
(Arising out of SLP (C) Nos.8248-8250 of 2007) State of Haryana ... Appellant
Versus Bhup Singh & Ors. ... Respondents
S.B. Sinha, J.
of the Court to interfere with the authority of the State in terms of the
Government Instructions in regard to release of the convicts is in question in
this appeal which arises from a judgment and order dated 13.7.2007 passed by a
learned Single Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh
directing release of the respondents from prison, stating:
written statement in the case of Bhup Singh, he had undergone actual sentence
of 14 years and 26 days as on 6.5.2007. Accordingly, he has undergone a few
days more than 14 years and 3 months of actual sentence as on today.
According to written
statement in the case of Om Prakash, he had undergone actual sentenceof 13
years 11 months and 27 days as on 19.4.2007 and thus, he has undergone actual
sentence of 14 years 3 months and 21 days as on today. Thus, both the
petitioners have undergone more than 3 months over and above the actual
sentence of 14 years.
Thus, provisions of
section 433-A of the Code also being taken into consideration, the petitioners
deserve to be released immediately as they have already completed the actual
sentence of 14 years.
On the other hand, if
judgment dated 24.7.2003 of this Court is taken into consideration, then the
petitioners should have been released about 4 years ago. Thus, viewed from any
angle, continued incarceration of the petitioners in the jail is completely
illegal and untenable.
For the forgoing
reasons, both these criminal writ petitions are allowed and both the
petitioners are ordered to be released forthwith from jail unless they are
required in some other case. However, this direction is subject to final
outcome of Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No.1488 of 2004 pending in the
Hon'ble Supreme Court."
were convicted for commission of offences under Section 302 of the Indian Penal
Code, by a judgment and order dated 25.1.1988 for murder of three persons. They
were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life.
Government of Haryana took a policy decision as regards premature release of
the life convicts by putting them in various categories.
The cases for
premature release of the appellants were not considered on the premise that the
offence committed by them fell in the category of `heinous crimes' as murder of
more than two persons was involved and, thus, could be considered only after
completion of 20 years' actual imprisonment and 25 years' imprisonment
validity or otherwise of the said policy decision was questioned by the respondents
by a writ petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court which was marked as
Criminal Miscellaneous No.30109-M of 2002.
The said writ
petition was allowed by a judgment and order dated 24.7.2003 holding that they
were entitled to be considered for premature release on the expiry of 10 years
of actual sentence and 14 years of sentence including remissions.
of the said judgment was questioned before this Court.
By a judgment and
order dated 13.10.2006, the State was directed to consider the cases of the
respondents and others for premature release in terms of the judgment of the
High Court dated 24.7.2003. Pursuant thereto and in furtherance thereof, the
orders impugned before the High Court were passed by the State on 13.12.2006 declining
release of the respondents, observing that they had not completed the requisite
period of sentence undergone to qualify for premature release under the
Naseem, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant would contend that
the High Court could not have issued the impugned direction inasmuch as the
State Government could have only been directed to consider the matter relating
to their premature release treating the date on which he was required to be put
up before the State under Article 166 of the Constitution as the relevant date
with reference to which their cases were required to be considered as opined by
this Court in State of Haryana & Ors. v. Balwan & Ors. [(1999) 7 SCC
State in exercise of its power under the Prison Rules is entitled to lay down
the guidelines. It may change its policy from time to time. From a recent
decision of this Court in State of Haryana v. Mahender Singh & Ors.
[(2007) 12 SCALE
669], it appears that such policy decisions had been taken by the State on
28.11.1987, 19.11.1991 and again on 12.4.2002 (impugned notification). This
Court held that the said policy decision would, however, be subject to the
statutory rules framed by the State in terms of the Prison Act. While upholding
the right of the State to lay down a policy decision as regards classification
of prisoners, it was opined :
"34. We are,
therefore, of the opinion that the High Court might not be correct in holding
that the State has no power to make any classification at all. A classification
validly made would not offend Article 14 of the Constitution of India."
It was furthermore
the Punjab Rules are applicable in the State of Haryana in view of the State
Reorganisation Act, no executive instruction would prevail over the Statutory
Rules. The Rules having defined 'convicts' in terms whereof a 'life convict'
was entitled to have his case considered within the parameters laid down
therein, the same cannot be taken away by reason of an executive instruction by
redefining the term 'life convict'. It is one thing to say that the 'life
convict' has no right to obtain remission but it is another thing to say that
they do not have any right to be 6 considered at all. Right to be considered
emanates from the State's own executive instructions as also the Statutory
Court issued a limited notice as to why the State shall not be directed to
consider the case of the respondents in terms of Mahender Singh (supra). In
view of the limited notice issued by this Court, Mr. Naseem, although was not
permitted to raise the contention that the date specified by this Court in
Balwan Singh (supra) should be considered to be the cut off date, we may only
observe that the directions contained therein cannot be held to be declaration
of law within the meaning Article 141 of the Constitution of India.
Court therein did not have any occasion to consider the legality and/or
validity of the policy decision of the State vis-`-vis the Prison Rules.
The right to ask for
remission of sentence by a life convict would be under the law as was
prevailing on the date on which the judgment of conviction and sentence was
passed. If the executive instructions cannot be given a retrospective effect
being not in consonance with the Prisoner's Rules framed under the Prison Act,
we fail to understand as to how the said decision constitutes a binding
precedent. A decision as is well known is an 7 authority for what it decides and
not what can logically be deduced there from.
therefore, are of the opinion that keeping in view the decision of this Court
in Mahender Singh (supra), the impugned judgment should be modified directing
the appellant to consider the cases of the respondents. It is, therefore,
directed that if the respondents have not already been released, the State
shall consider their cases in terms of the judgment of this Court in Mahender
Singh's case (supra) having regard to the policy decision as was applicable on
the date on which they were convicted and not on the basis of the subsequent
policy decision of the year 2002.
is allowed to the aforementioned extent. No costs.