Convene sentence review board meetings more frequently to decongest jails: Plea in Delhi HC

New Delhi [India], May 6 (ANI): A public interest litigation (PIL) was moved in Delhi High Court on Wednesday seeking directions to convene Sentence Review Board (SRB) meetings more frequently so more eligible inmates can be released from prisons in order to decongest the jails.

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.

According to the lawyer, the matter is listed for hearing on May 11.

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.

It is pertinent to mention here that between October 2018 to October 2019, the respondents had convened only one meeting of SRB on July 19, 2019, the plea said. (ANI)