Cabinet approves scheme for freeing prisoners

New Delhi, Jul 18 (IANS) | Publish Date: 7/19/2018 12:18:37 AM IST
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a remission scheme for certain categories of prisoners, including women, transgender, and physically disabled, under which they will be set free on satisfying the given criteria.
The scheme will cover those women and transgenders who have crossed age of 55 years, and men over 60 years of age, given they have served 50 per cent of their total sentence, Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here after the cabinet meeting. 
Prisoners with over 70 per cent disability and who have served 50 per cent of their sentence will also be covered under the scheme-- irrespective of their age. Terminally ill prisoners are also under consideration, the Minister said.  Prasad said that the decision was taken to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, falling next year. 
The scheme, however, was conditional and those convicted of murder, acts of terrorism, kidnapping for ransom, rape, dowry death and human trafficking will not be covered.
Also, those booked under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act, the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the Foreign Exchange Management Act, the Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act, the Prevention of Corruption Act and those serving death and life sentences will not be covered under the scheme, he said.
As per the decision, taken in the Cabinet meeting being chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the prisoners will be released in three phases, a government statement said.
In Phase-I, the prisoners will be released on October 2, 2018 (149th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi), 2018; in Phase-II, the prisoners will be released on April 10, 2019 (anniversary of Champaran Satyagrah) and in Phase-III, the prisoners will be released on October 2, 2019 (150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi). 
“Ministry of Home Affairs will issue advice to all states and Union Territories asking them to process the cases of eligible prisoners as well as to constitute a committee to examine the cases. State governments will place the recommendations of the committee before Governor for consideration and approval under Article 161 of the Constitution. After the approval, the prisoners will be released,” added the statement.

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