Row of acquitting convicts: Over hundred inmates seek a premature release!

In the middle of the controversial acquittal of the life-term convicts with connection to the Melavalavu massacre and Dharmapuri bus burning cases, it has been reported that about hundreds of convicts who have been lodged in Tamil Nadu prisons had petitioned in the judicial bodies to seek a premature release and to challenge the state government's decision of denying them from getting acquitted.

The reports say that the state government of Tamil Nadu, with the view of marking the centenary birth anniversary of former Chief Minister M G Ramachandran, has identified and finalized the list of about 1,750 long time convicts for awarding the premature release last year.  The state Governor Banwarilal Purohit, who holds the ultimate authority to grant amnesty for the prisoners in the state, has consented the release of 1,627 convicts since June 6th, 2018.

Central Prison complex in Puzhal, Chennai - File photo


These prisoners were identified by the state government under the grounds of completing more than ten years of imprisonment as on February 25th, 2018 and the inmates who are aged above 60 and have completed at least five years of imprisonments in the same period and the prisoners suffering from severe ailments and chronic illness have been inducted as an eligibility for the premature release.

However, despite being eligible for getting acquitted, the petitions submitted by most of the prisoners for premature release were rejected by the state government following which more than a hundred convicts have now tabled their pleas before the Madras High court while about ten inmates have approached the Supreme court with the view of challenging the government's denial in granting them with amnesty and the acquittal list carries the names of women convicts who have been kept behind the bars after being proposed for the premature release.

                       Madras High court - File photo


The state government authorities have said that the petitions of nearly eighty prisoners were rejected by the government as these inmates have been convicted of kidnapping women, killing children or women. By proposing the scheme for the premature release, the state government had drawn the guidelines and limitations for the release where the inmates convicted with severe offenses, rape, dacoity, forgery, robbery, terrorism, committing an offense against the state, violating the communal harmony and inciting the riots, attempting to evade from the judicial or police custody, demeaning the parole, cruelty against women, smuggling, corruption, trafficking, and economic crimes and offenses can't be eligible for premature release. 

                       Image for Representation


On November 9, 2019, the state government of Tamil Nadu has granted amnesty for the 13 life term convicts for purportedly murdering seven Dalit Panchayat officials on June 30th, 1997, as part of marking MGR centenary celebrations. These 13 men were among the 17 convicts belong to Thevar community and they were accused of killing Dalit men with the ill-ful motive of barricading the Dalit community from contesting and winning the Panchayat elections. After proven guilty, these 17 convicts were awarded life term imprisonment by a trial court and the verdict was later upheld by the Madras High court and Supreme court. While one of the convicts had died during the trial, three were acquitted in 2008 by the DMK government during Anna Centenary celebrations and the rest 13 were released by the ADMK government earlier this month as a part of MGR Centenary celebrations.

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