Appeal For Premature Release Of Life Convicts

Shri Jana Reddy
The Hon’ble Home Minister
Government of Andhra Pradesh

Dear Sir,

Sub: Premature Release of Life Prisoners to mark the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of AP Formation 2006

For the past two years, the Human Rights Forum (HRF) has been receiving a number of appeals from life convicts and their relatives demanding premature release of the prisoners. We have been appealing about the same to the government directly and through the media.

In the prisons of Andhra Pradesh there are at present more than 2800 prisoners sentenced for life. In August 2004, while releasing 1050 prisoners prematurely the government announced that 285 more prisoners would be released on 2 October 2004. In the past two years several such public occasions have come and gone but they have not been released. We have come to know that there are a number of prisoners who have completed more than 7 years of sentence and deserve to be considered for premature release by the government. The HRF has been receiving a number of petitions from such prisoners for their release.

We understand that the government has difficulties to consider the release of prisoners as the media and Supreme Court are critical of the procedure the government followed in the case of Gouru Venkata Reddy. The question before the Supreme Court is one of misuse of power vested in the government under Article 161 of the Constitution. But that should not prevent the government from proper use of the power vested in it. The power to grant pardon under these sections is in essence an executive function to be exercised by the government after taking into consideration various matters relevant to persons in custody.  In K.M. Nanavati v. the State of Bombay, the Supreme Court has laid down that it is open to the Governor to grant a full pardon at any time even during the pendency of the case in Supreme Court in exercise of what is ordinarily called “mercy jurisdiction”. We also submit that the exercise of power by the government in case of appealing prisoners does not amount to interference with the due and proper course of justice as the power of the Apex Court to pronounce upon the validity or otherwise of the release of Gouru Venkata Reddy still remains unaffected. Therefore, we feel that this difficulty of the government should not come in the way of considering the fate of ordinary prisoners, who really deserve the mercy of government.

Here we would also like to submit that the All India Committee on Prison Reforms 1980-83 dealt with the dehumanising and degenerating effect of long periods of imprisonment on the prisoners.  It recognised the need for bringing in legislation to fix a term for life imprisonment, which has not happened so far. It reasoned that the long incarceration cuts off the prisoners from conjugal life, decision making process in day to day life and from mainstream society into which he would have to be re-assimilated and from the practical point of view of administration, it offers no incentive for self-discipline and self-improvement. The Committee perceptively warned that the deep discontent simmering among the life convicts in all the States and Union Territories might burst into prison riots.    

Since the birth centenary of Mahatma Gandhi in 1969, the government has, under Article 161 of the Constitution, exercised the power of discretion on 12 occasions to release prisoners. In 1980 on the occasion of Silver Jubilee of AP Formation Day, the government released prisoners prematurely. We, therefore request you to consider all the cases of prisoners eligible for premature release as per the tradition followed in the past on various occasions.

Therefore, we request you:

  1. To consider the appeals of the prisoners for premature release on the occasion of Golden Jubilee of AP Formation Day. 
  2. To revive the Advisory Boards for sentence at each Central Prison level for periodical consideration of premature release of prisoners as specified in the Prison Rule 1979.         

    Yours Sincerely,

Dr. B Ramulu
HRF President

VS Krishna
HRF secretary

Dr K Murali
HRF Twin Cities Secretary   

K Balagopal
HRF general secretary

S Jeevan Kumar
HRF State vice-president


Related Posts

Scroll to Top