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Meeting of Sentence Review Board to decongest jails underway: Delhi govt tells HC

ANI | Updated: May 11, 2020 15:24 IST

New Delhi [India], May 11 (ANI): Delhi government on Monday told Delhi High Court that a meeting of the Sentence Review Board (SRB) was underway today to consider releasing eligible convicts in a bid to decongest jails amid the ongoing coronavirus-induced lockdown.
A division bench of Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Justice Sangeeta Dhingra Sehgal was hearing a petition seeking directions to convene Sentence Review Board (SRB) meetings more frequently to decongest jails.
After the hearing, the court observed that since High Power Committee has taken up the issue pursuant to directions of Supreme Court to decongest the jails and in view of earlier directions passed by this court, it would not be appropriate to intervene in the matter, at this stage.
The court, however, granted liberty to the petitioner to approach the High Power Committee for redressal of the issue raised in the petition and directed the respondent to place the copy of this order before the committee for its consideration.
The PIL, moved by social activist and lawyer Amit Sahni, said that apart from interim bails, parole and furlough, the jails can also be decongested if SRB meetings for releasing convicts are convened in a more frequent manner, as provided in the rules.

The petition said that the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court have stressed upon decongesting jails and in furtherance of the same this court has passed directions for granting emergency parole to the prisoners.
It said that the present health emergency in the country has necessitated that the meetings of SRB should be convened more frequently as provided in Rule 1250 of Delhi Prison Rules (DPR), 2018 for considering cases of convicts as provided in the SRB Order of 2004 and DPR 2018 so that the convicts, who qualify and fulfill the required parameters could be released.
The plea said that the respondents while considering the cases of the prisoners for premature release are required to consider the factors prescribed in guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), SRB order dated July 16, 2004, and DPR 2018.
It said that the SRB order dated July 16, 2004, and DPR, 2018 also provides for a periodicity of the meetings of the Sentence Review Board.
According to the rules, SRB should meet at least once in three months at the notified place on a date to be noticed to its members at least 10 days in advance by the Member Secretary.
The notice of such meeting shall be accompanied by complete agenda papers. However, the plea said that the Chairman of the SRB can convene a meeting of the Committee more frequently, even at short notices, if necessary. (ANI)