Apex court tells government to make sentence waiver provision for senior citizensAt a time when the government is yet to decide on clemency for Charles Sobhraj, who has been waiting government’s decision to waive his remaining jail-term citing existing legal provisions, the Supreme Court has directed the government to make a clear provision to provide a waiver of jail sentences to senior citizens.
At a time when the government is yet to decide on clemency for Charles Sobhraj, who has been waiting government’s decision to waive his remaining jail-term citing existing legal provisions, the Supreme Court has directed the government to make a clear provision to provide a waiver of jail sentences to senior citizens.
The apex court’s directive was prompted by the death of a 75-year prisoner Pemba Gurung at a hospital in Laltipur while fighting for his right to remain free.
Since Gurung’s plea for justice was delayed due to government’s failure to finalise the authority to determine the waiver despite the legal provisions, the top court has ordered the Home Ministry to draft a rule with a work procedure identifying the authority responsible for determining the waiver of prison sentence to senior citizens on the basis of their age and percent of the waiver.
A division bench of Justice Kedar Prasad Chalise and Justice Sapana Malla Pradhan had decided on the petition filed by Gurung on January 15. The full text of the order was issued on Monday.
Gurung had filed the petition at the Supreme Court on October 9, 2018, just a day before his death. He was being treated at Alka Hospital in Laltipur for cancer.
Earlier on February 24, the apex court had issued an order to the government, asking it to decide within three months whether the French serial killer Charles Sobhraj qualifies for the waiver of his remaining sentence.
In his writ petition filed at the apex court last November, Sobhraj had demanded waiver to his jail sentence, citing provisions of Clause 12 (1) of the Senior Citizens Act 2063.
Clause 12 (1) of the Senior Citizen Act states that senior citizens can get waiver of sentence not exceeding 50 percent for those who have completed the age of 70 years, and 75 percent for those who have completed 75 years of age.
The apex court has also directed the Prison Management Department to prepare details of the senior citizens serving jail terms who were eligible for the waiver as per the Senior Citizens Act within 15 days of receiving the order. The Supreme Court has also ordered its lower courts—High Courts and District Courts—to prepare the details of such senior citizens.
“Waive the jail terms of the senior citizens as per the Senior Citizens Act on the basis of their age, their physical and mental status and the nature of their crime after monitoring prisons under the High Courts and District Courts as per their respective regulations within 15 days,” states the SC order, the full text of which was released on Monday. “Also prepare the details of the waiver at the quasi judicial bodies that look after the cases and determines punishments,” the SC added.
Four years ago the Chitwan National Park Office had handed down 14 years and six months of jail term and Rs 100,000 fine to Gurung, a resident of Manang district, for poaching a rhino. Around a year later the Hetauda Appellate Court had reduced the jail term to 10 years and fine to Rs 50,000.