From The Courts

July 25, 2020

Madras HC Directs State To Invoke POCA Against Police Officials Charging Bribe From Convicts’ Families

[ by Legal Era News Network ]


The Madras High Court recently while hearing a habeas corpus plea filed by a convict serving life sentence at Salem Central Prison, who sought one month’s ordinary leave for his wife’s treatment, made sharp observations against police officials who allegedly demand money from convicts families in the name of ‘charges’.

Division bench of Justice R Kirubakaran and Justice VM Hemalatha directed the authorities to initiate departmental inquiry against such officials and invoke Prevention of Corruption Act against them. 

Court said-

“It is brought to the notice of this Court that the police officials who are accompanying the convicts are taking money in the name of charges. If it is happening, then it is illegal and it would amount to bribe. It is made clear that if any such incident is brought to the notice of this Court, then not only departmental proceedings would be taken against the concerned officials but also action under Prevention of Corruption Act would be taken.”

Moreover, the bench referred to the financial and mental strain that the convicts families are already going through -

“The convicts are already languishing in jail and do not have any source of livelihood and their families are already suffering. In spite of the same, these people are fleecing the convicts who come out on parole without any sympathy. Therefore, the Inspector General of Prisons is directed to make it clear that no amount shall be demanded from the convicts when they come out on parole and the convicts shall also be informed about the same so that if any such incident happens, the same can be promptly reported to the authorities.”

Moreover, Court noted that as per Tamil Nadu Suspension of Sentence Rules when a petition under Rule 24 fro grant of ordi submitted before the jail Superintendent, he shall forward the same ‘expeditiously’ to the government for orders. The bench said-

"Merely because there is no time limit fixed in the aforesaid Rules for the disposal of the representation for ordinary leave, it does not mean that the Prison Authorities can sleep over the matter.

The convicts and their families are already suffering because of incarceration and even the result of the representation is not given in time, it will be injustice to them"

Therefore, allowing the petition for leave, Court passed the following directions-

(i)The Government is directed to make appropriate amendments in the Rules indicating two weeks' time limit for disposal of the representation for ordinary leave;

(ii) Till such amendment is made, the above time limit shall be in force and shall be scrupulously followed by the authorities;

(iii)If the time limit is not adhered to, it would amount to Contempt of Court and the parties are at liberty to approach this Court with contempt petition.

(iv)The expenses incurred by the parties for approaching the Court for not disposing the representation for ordinary leave shall be borne by the authority who failed to dispose of the representation

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