The Gujarat High Court directed the State government to pay compensation of INR 50,000 to a murder convict who was not released from the prison even after when his case was being eligible for remission of sentence.
In the instant matter, the petitioner, Mr. Prabhatji Dhabi, who had been convicted of murder in 1997 and was supposed to be released in accordance with the notification. However, the jail authorities have refused to release him as they claimed that the petitioner has jumped furlough once and had not been surrendered to jail authorities.
The petitioner contended that the jail authorities have ignored the fact this incident had occurred 10 years before. He claimed that he has been detained in the jail for 7 months more without any legal ground or no fault of his.
To this, the state gave a counter by stating that remission is granted to convicts after observing their behaviour and conduct in jail and the fact that the Petitioner has made an attempt to abscond from the jail reflect badly on his character.
The court observed that the State cannot attack the petitioner’s conduct merely through oral submissions and held that the, “When the state is considering the case of those life convicts for remission and when itself decides that case of those life convicts are to be considered who have not absconded for last ten years from the date of issuance of resolution, an officer of the State Government cannot act contrary to the policy decision taken by the state.
Justice A.J. Desai observed, The lethargy shown by the state and its officers has kept a person of around six months. These six months of illegal incarceration of the petitioner by the State is, therefore, required to be dealt with relief, now court can grant for his illegal incarceration.
The Court opined that the legitimate freedom cannot be equated with money and hence compensation was the only relief against such illegal detention.