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Government has issued new Criminal Offence Rules for prisoners

The government has issued Criminal Offence Rules, 2019, to pave the way for commuting jail sentence of eligible inmates.

According to the rules, any prisoner, who has served at least three-fourths of jail sentence and has demonstrated a good conduct while doing time in jail, may be entitled to commutation of jail term.

However, the provision of commutation shall not be applicable for a person convicted of rape, corruption, human trafficking, kidnapping, drug smuggling, organised crime, money laundering, torture against humanity, offence against state, war crime, destructive crime, child molestation and violence, polygamy and jailbreak.

Also a person who has fine dues for any crime as ordered by a court is also not qualified for commutation of sentence.

“Each prison is required to maintain records of jailbirds for the purpose of identification of persons deemed eligible for commutation.

The prison shall have to send the updated records to the Department of Prison Management on a quarterly basis,” the rules read.

If a prisoner is transferred from one jail to other, the records of his/her conduct shall be sent to the new jail. “A jailbird may submit an application along with required documents to the concerned jail administration requesting commutation. If a jailbird is above the age of 70 years or is suffering from terminal disease or is mentally unstable, his/her guardian or parent or caretaker may submit the application on his/her behalf,” the rules say.

The jail administration may make recommendations as per the records of his/her conduct to the concerned chief district officer for necessary action if the jailbird is found eligible for commutation.

“If the CDO deems it appropriate for commutation, he/she shall make recommendations to the DPM for further action.

Subsequently, the DoPM prepares the details of jailbirds entitled to commutation and writes to the Ministry of Home Affairs for that purpose,” the rules read.

Upon receipt of such details from the DoPM, the MoHA will table the proposal for commutation of sentence at the meeting of the Council of Ministers.

Once the Council of Ministers endorses the proposal tabled by the MoHA, the decision will be submitted to the President for final approval.

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