SC allowed States to release life convicts; Rajiv Gandhi assassination case kept out of purview

Jul 24, 2015 11:22 IST

The Supreme Court of India on 23 July 2015 allowed state governments to exercise its power of remission to release life convicts with a rider.

The decision was given by five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu which modified its 9 July 2014 order wherein it had restrained all states from exercising power of remission for releasing life convicts from jail.

However, the apex court rule some exceptions to which this decision will not apply. These are:
• Cases probed by central agencies like CBI and for those incarcerated under central laws such as Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA).
• Cases wherein the convict has been awarded life term in sexual offence cases of rape and murder.
• Rajiv Gandhi assassination case in which the Centre's plea against the Tamil Nadu Government's decision to grant remission for release of the seven life convicts is under consideration.
• Cases wherein prison terms are specified to continue till life or for a specified period like 20 to 25 years.

The restoration of the states' power of remission under Sections 432, 433 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to release life convicts may be used for considering relief for those life convicts who have undergone prison term of 14 or more years.

The stay as per July 2014 decision was imposed in the wake of the controversy triggered by the Tamil Nadu Government’s decision to grant remission for release of three such convicts, whose death sentence in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case was commuted to life term by it on 18 February 2014.

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