New Delhi: Prisoners, including politicians, who have been convicted in cases of murder, rape or corruption, will not be released as part of an amnesty scheme announced by the government for the year-long celebrations to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi beginning October 2.
Women convicts aged 55 years and above and male convicts of 60 years or more, who have completed half of their sentence, and a few other categories of prisoners in jails across the country will be released under the amnesty scheme on October 2, 2018, April 6, 2019 and October 2, 2019, Home Ministry officials said.
The central government has already conveyed to all states the guidelines on who all eligible for amnesty and asked them to prepare a list by August 15 so that the first batch could be released on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The following categories of prisoners, who have consistently maintained overall good conduct, will be eligible for special remission:
Women convicts of 55 years of age and above, who have completed half of their actual sentence period, without counting the period of general remission earned by them;
Transgender convicts of 55 years of age and above, who have completed half of their actual sentence period, without counting the period of general remission earned by them;
Male convicts of 60 years of age and above, who have completed 50 per cent of their actual sentence period, without counting the period of general remission earned by them;
Physically challenged/disabled convicts with 70 per cent disability and more, duly certified by a medical board, who have completed half of their actual sentence period;
Terminally ill convicts, duly certified by a medical board;
Convicted prisoners who have completed two-third (66 per cent) of their actual sentence period;
However, the special remission is not to be granted to persons convicted for an offence for which the sentence is death penalty or where death sentence has been commuted to life imprisonment.
The other categories of prisoners who will not be considered for amnesty are:
Persons convicted for an offence for which punishment of death has been specified as one of the punishments;
Persons convicted for an offence for which punishment of life imprisonment has been specified as one of the punishments.
Cases of convicts involved in terrorist activities or persons convicted under Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1985 (TADA), The Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA), Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA), The Explosive Substances Act, 1908, The National Security Act, 1982 (NSA), Official Secrets Act, 1923, Anti-Hijacking Act, 2016;
Those convicted for counterfeiting currency notes (FICN) – cases under section 489 (A to E) of Indian Penal Code;
Prisoners convicted for the offence of Rape, human trafficking and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956;
Cases of prisoners convicted under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA), Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015;
Cases of prisoners convicted under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS);
Prisoners convicted under the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities), Act, 2005;
Those convicted under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988;
Prisoners convicted for offences against the State (Chapter-VI of IPC); and prisoners convicted under any other law which the state government and union territory administrations consider appropriate to exclude.
Since prisons and persons detained therein are ‘State’ subjects, the state governments have been advised to constitute a state level committee to examine cases of eligible prisoners satisfying and fulfilling the conditions, an official said.
The state governments will place the recommendation of the committee before the Governor for consideration and approval in exercise of his power under Article 161 of the Constitution of India and in case of Jammu and Kashmir under Section 34 of its Constitution.
Cases where approval of the central government is required as per law may be sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The foreign nationals, who have been convicted, shall be released with the concurrence of the Ministry of External Affairs, another official said.
The official made it clear that prisoners, including politicians, who are serving sentence for rape, murder or corruption, will not be released under the scheme.