According to officials, the government is planning on the release of several hundred prisoners, who have not been convicted of rape, murder, and corruption, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. Even though the final list is still being prepared by the Union Home Ministry in close coordination with State Governments and Union Territory administration, it is speculated that around 600 people might get released.
The officials have also mentioned that so far 1,424 prisoners have been released by states and Union territories in two phases on October 2, 2018 and April 6, 2019. A third phase is due on October 2, 2019. However, those convicted under the Prevention of Corruption Act, The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1985 (TADA), The Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA), Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA), The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA), Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 are not included in the plan and would not be released.
The plan is to release women convicts aged 55 years and above and male convicts of 60 years or more, who have completed half of their sentence. It also includes prisoners under a few other categories. Additionally, there are plans to release transgender convicts of 55 years of age and above, who have completed half of their actual sentence period. Physically challenged or disabled convicts with 70 per cent disability and more, duly certified by a medical board, who have completed half of their actual sentence period will also be eligible for release
On a related note, the Punjab government has also announced the release of 550 prisoners on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. The move is being termed as ‘humanitarian gesture’. Most of the prisoners were convicted by various courts in the country for offences committed during the militancy period in Punjab.