December 19, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh/ Mohali (December 19, 2013): Deccan Herald has reported that the demand for the release of Sikh prisoner Gurdeep Singh Khera lodged in the Gulbarga central jail in Karnataka for the last 23-years is garnering support from various quarters in Punjab who are strongly backing the indefinite hunger strike initiated by Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa in protest of the incarceration of the Sikhs.
“Monday was the 32nd day of the fast. The protesters claim that all these prisoners have served their term. Human rights activists and supporters of the cause have also written to the Karnataka Home Secretary and the Inspector General (Prisoners) seeking the transfer of Khera from the Gulbarga jail to the Amritsar jail”, reads Deccan Helard report.
Gurdeep Singh Khera was arrested in 1990 and later convicted in two separate cases under TADA Act in 1996 and 2001 in Delhi and Karnataka respectively.
He has undergone 23-years of actual sentence, the letter to the authorities in Karnataka said. Khera, 52, was 29-year-old when he was arrested.
“Talking to Deccan Herald, sympathizer and Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate Harpal Singh Cheema said Khera has been convicted under charges of TADA besides murder charges” reads the Deccan Herald news.
“He has not been granted parole. He deserves to be released after more than two decades,” he said. He asserted that while the apex court has held that life imprisonment will be for the entire life, there are sections under which the President or the Governor can grant remissions or order pre-mature release of a convict,” Harpal Singh Cheema reportedly added.
The letter to the Karnataka Home Secretary seeks release of Gureep Singh Khera on the grounds that the law of the land mandates so.
It states, “When a prisoner is convicted in an outside state, he should be transferred to his home state so that the reform process is able to create circumstances for the prisoner to reform”.
The communiqué has cited two Supreme Court judgments stating that the normal rule is that the prisoner is detained in a place that is within the environs of his ordinary place of residence.
Another judgment cited states that punishing the prisoner into solitary cell, denial of a necessary amenity and transfer to a distant prison where visits or society of friends or relatives may be snapped.. may be punitive in effect.
The letter adds that the prisoner should be detained near his home so that he can be visited by friends and relatives so that the rehabilitation process many is not hampered. The application cites section 3 of the Transfer of Prisoners Act that says that a prisoner can be transferred to his home state with the consent of the state government.
“We have not received any such request letter from anybody,” ADGP (Prisons), K V Gagandeep reportedly said, who further added that he was on a tour and would go through any such request letter if there was.
In such cases, decisions will have to be taken at the government level since two states are involved. The decision would be taken after carefully examining legal issues, the ADGP reportedly added.
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