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Must breathe fresh air: Person convicted of heinous crime is not hardened criminal, Himachal Pradesh HC rules

By Rintu Mariam      26 December, 2023 07:05 PM      0 Comments
Must breathe fresh air: Person convicted of heinous crime is not hardened criminal, Himachal Pradesh HC rules

In a significant judgement, the Himachal Pradesh High Court pointed out why its important for even persons convicted of heinous offences to be released on bail. 
 

Highlighting this, the Court said there is no presumption that a person convicted of a serious or heinous crime is to be ipso facto treated as hardened criminal. Hardened criminal, the Court explained, would be a person who is in the habit to commit crime repeatedly. If person has committed a serious offence, for which he is convicted, but it is the only crime that he is committed, then he isnt a hardened criminal.
 

It was stated that redemption and rehabilitation of such prisoners for good of societies must receive due weightage while they are undergoing sentence of imprisonment.
 

It appears that the respondents have been completely oblivious that grant of parole whereby convict can be released from jail for short period has to be considered as an opportunity afforded to him not only to solve his personal and family problems but also to maintain his links with society. Convicts too must breathe fresh air for at least some time provided they maintain good conduct consistently during incarceration and show a tendency to reform themselves and become good citizens.
 

The petitioner moved the High Court seeking to be released on parole for 28 days. The petitioner relied on the Himachal Pradesh Good Conduct Prisoners (Temporary Release) Act, 1968, and its rules. The respondents, opposing the plea, alleged discrepancies in the petitioner's documentation related to the date of a 'shradh ceremony'. Further, the absence of Gram Panchayats recommendation letter was also noted. 
In the order, the High Court heavily relied on Supreme Courts recent decision in Asfaq vs. State of Rajasthan which ruled that parole cannot be denied merely on the basis of the heinous nature of offence. 
 

There are roughly 4 objectives that the State intends to achieve by punishing the culprit are: deterrence, prevention, retribution and reformation, the Court elucidated. 
 

Reformation, the Court said, provides justification for letting of even the life convicts for short periods, on parole. This works in two ways one, to afford opportunities to such convicts to solve their personal and family problems. And, two, to maintain their links with the society. 
 

Another objective which this theory underlines is that even such convicts have right to breathe fresh air, al beit for (sic 4 short) periods. These gestures on the part of the State, along with other measures, go a long way for redemption and rehabilitation of such prisoners. They are ultimately aimed for the good of the society and, therefore, are in public interest, the Court underscored before allowing bail to the petitioner subject to conditions.



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