Memo on convict’s plea set aside

Setting aside Home Secretary’s memo rejecting a life convict’s representation for pre-mature release, Justice K. Lakshman of Telangana High Court has directed the government to re-consider his representation.

The judge said the Home Secretary should reconsider life convict S. K. Zakaria’s application within four weeks of receiving the order copy, in accordance with guidelines of a Government Order 30 issued last year. The Home Secretary should consider actual sentence vis-a-vis the total sentence completed by the life convict.

The Home Secretary should also take into consideration the principles laid down by the Supreme Court and other High Courts in different judgments on similar matters. The official should consider the remand period and remission time. Failure to consider these factors would be viewed seriously, the judge said in his order.

The top official should also pay attention to the directions issued by the apex court on ‘Contagion of COVID-19 virus in Prisons’ and that of Telangana High Court, the verdict said. Justice K. Lakshman noted that Supreme Court had held that remission policy as on the date of conviction of a life convict was applicable.

In other cases, the apex court held that the factors of ‘antecedents’, ‘conduct of the lifers during incarceration’ and ‘likelihood to abstain from crime’ should be considered while taking a call on remission of life convicts. The Home Secretary had not considered any of the principles laid by the apex court, the judge observed.

Zakaria was accused of murdering M.A. Khader, the then Deputy Secretary of Andra Pradesh State Wakf Board in 1992. The Fourth Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge at Hyderabad in 2003 sentenced him to undergo life imprisonment.

Zakaria’s son approached the HC in 2016 seeking a direction to government for premature release of his father as per the provision of GO MS No. 16. The HC directed the Home Secretary to dispose of Zakaria’s petition for premature release within a month.

“There is no explanation, much less plausible explanation for abnormal delay in complying with the said order”, the judge said in the verdict.

Crime Today News | Hyderabad


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