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Plea in DHC challenging new jail manual as it was not approved by the LG

Plea in DHC challenging new jail manual as it was not approved by the LG

New Delhi, Mar 27 (PTI) A plea challenging the constitutional validity of the new jail manual alleging that the Lieutenant Governor (LG) was not kept in the loop came up for hearing on Wednesday before the Delhi High Court.A bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Manoj Ohri said the plea is in the nature of a public interest litigation (PIL) and directed that it be listed for hearing before an appropriate bench."In view of the foregoing, list this matter before the appropriate bench, according to the roster, for directions on April 2, subject to and after obtaining necessary orders of the Chief Justice," the bench said.The petition filed by social activist and advocate Amit Sahni said the Delhi government has not sought approval of the LG before giving effect to the Delhi Prison Rules (DPR), 2018, which makes it "unconstitutional" and liable to be set aside."Unlike previous rules, neither the beginning lines of DPR, 2018 mention about any approval sought from the LG nor does it refer to anything that the Rules shall become operative after notifications to be issued by the LG, in future, in this regard," the plea claimed.It said that by virtue of DPR, 2018, the Delhi government by not taking the approval of the LG has sought to override the previous orders, circulars and notifications in respect of parole and furlough, premature release of convicts etc, which were notified by the LG after due deliberation. "DPR, 2018 are bad in law and the same are liable to be struck down," the plea claimed.It said that the state government has done away with the outer limit of incarceration in case of life convicts, which was passed by the July 2004 sentence review board (SRB) order by the LG in furtherance of NHRC recommendations on premature release of Convicts. "DPR, 2018 in as much as premature release has not been appropriately prepared especially in view of rule... by doing away with the outer limit of 20/ 25 years in two categories as suggested by NHRC in 2003 and incorporated in SRB order of July 16, 2004," the petition said.It added that the government's act of removing the outer limit of incarceration would discourage the inmates to maintain good conduct during custody and would give unlimited power to SRB to keep someone in custody as per its whims and fancies.The new rules have completely overlooked the welfare of jail cadre officers by ignoring the model prison manual and it has been prepared by officers other than the jail cadre, the plea alleged."DPR, 2018 have totally overlooked the welfare of old aged persons as advised by the model prison manual, which provides that old (above 65 years of age) and infirm offenders (other than those serving life imprisonment) sentenced to imprisonment for one year and more, on completion of one third of the substantive sentence including remission, subject to the condition that they shall not be actually released unless they have undergone at least one year of imprisonment including remission," the petition stated. PTI SKV HMP RT