Defending Anand Mohan's release, the Bihar government has informed the Supreme Court that a convict serving life imprisonment for a murder case should not be denied remission simply because the victim was a public servant.
Anand Mohan is a former Bihar lawmaker who was sentenced to life for instigating the killing of the district magistrate of Gopalganj in 1994. Despite being sentenced to life, Mohan was released early after the state modified the prison rules.
The rules were amended on 10 April and Mohan walked out of jail on 27 April after staying in jail for less than 16 years. Modified Bihar Prison Manual allows life convicts involved in the murder of a public servant to be eligible for premature release after serving a 14-year sentence.
The Bihar government, in its affidavit, argued that the status of the victim should not be a determining factor in granting or refusing remission. The remission of Anand Mohan was considered in accordance with the policy and prescribed procedures.
The government stated that it amended the 2012 prison rules to remove the prohibition against releasing life convicts guilty of murdering public servants. It cited the absence of such distinctions in the prison rules of other states like Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana.
According to the government, the punishment for murder of the general public or a public servant is the same. The amendment was made to remove discrimination based on the status of the victim.
The government maintained that Mohan's release was based on favorable reports, and he had written three books during his time in prison and actively participated in assigned work.
Gopalganj district magistrate G Krishnaiah was murdered in December 1994. Anand Mohan, who was a member of the legislative assembly at the time, was convicted for instigating the murder.
He was initially sentenced to death in 2007 but had his sentence commuted to life imprisonment by the Patna High Court in 2008. Despite his appeal to the Supreme Court, the verdict remained unchanged.
Following Mohan's premature release, Uma Krishnaiah, the wife of the slain IAS officer, filed a petition in the Supreme Court on 29 April, challenging the amendment that facilitated Mohan's release.
She argued that the state government could not mechanically release any person at the end of 14 years and cited previous decisions of the Supreme Court to support her claim that the state should consider remission based on the policy in place at the time of conviction.
Mohan was convicted in 2007 when the 2002 remission policy was in effect, which also denied premature release to convicts guilty of killing public servants on duty.
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