New remission order to benefit life convicts in political murder cases

The latest order was issued based on a decision of the state Cabinet which met on November 23: Shutterstock/kittirat roekburi

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala’s Home Ministry has issued an order allowing remission of sentence for political prisoners undergoing life imprisonment in murder cases before completing 14 years. Consequently, such prisoners would be eligible for reduction of their sentence by up to one year.

The new order has omitted a condition in an earlier order of 2018 which said that no remission should be allowed for political prisoners in murder cases before they complete 14 years of their sentence.

The latest order was issued based on a decision of the state Cabinet which met on November 23. However, Ministers who were present at that Cabinet meeting had indicated that remission would be given only for political prisoners serving sentences other than life.

Meanwhile, the Opposition accused the government of attempting to set free those sentenced in political murders, including that of T P Chandrasekharan. Ten convicts in the TP Chandrasekharan murder case are presently serving life terms. Kodi Suni, Rafeeq, Kirmany Manoj, Trouser Manojan and Annan Sijith are among them and they would complete nine years of their sentence in January. Incidentally, many of these convicts have been out on parole for long periods. (TP Chandrasekharan was murdered on May 2, 2012, after he left the CPM and formed the Revolutionary Marxist Party or RMP.)

In normal cases, remission is announced during special occasions such as Republic Day and Independence Day. Remission lasts from 15 days to one year depending on the period of sentence. However, convicts in cases related to rape and murder of women and children, communal killings, drug trafficking and dowry killings are not eligible for reduction of sentence.

What is Remission
Remission simply means a reduction of the time that a person has to stay in prison. Article 72 and 161 of the Constitution of India empower the President and Governor to grant pardon, to suspend, remit or commute a sentences passed by the courts.

Section 432 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure allows state governments to grant remission to convicts. The provision states that “when any person has been sentenced to punishment for an offence, the appropriate government may, at any time, without conditions or upon any conditions which the person sentenced accepts, suspend the execution of his sentence or remit the whole or any part of the punishment to which he has been sentenced”.

Term | Duration of Remission
Up to three months | 15 days
Three to six months | One month
Six months to one year | Two months
One year to two years | Three months
Two to five years | Four months
Five to 10 years | Five months
Life imprisonment | One year  

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