High Court seeks Govt response on Dr Faktoo’s appeal

Faktoo Has Challenged Single Bench Judgment On Life Imprisonment


Srinagar, Dec 24: The High Court Monday issued notice to the J&K government seeking its response on the appeal filed by the Muslim League Chairman Dr Muhammad Qasim Faktoo challenging the single bench judgment terming that life imprisonment means detention for entire life. 
 A division bench comprising Justice Virender Singh and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar issued the notice after Faktoo’s Counsel Mian Abdul Qayoom argued the case.
 Qayoom pleaded that the writ court has referred to sections 401 and 402 of the Code of Criminal Procedure ‘erroneously’ in the judgment.
 “Code of Criminal Procedure had no application to the case of the appellant as he had not asked for any remission or commutation of the sentence in his petition,” he argued. He said it was a “positive case” that he has already served 20 years of sentence and as such he was entitled to be released.
 “The Writ Court has referred to the provisions of sections 401 and 402 of Code of Criminal Procedure under a mistaken concept that the petitioner was seeking remission/ commutation of his sentence that it was the state government which was competent to do so,” Qayoom argued.
 A bench of High Court had earlier dismissed Faktoo’s petition seeking his release and had ruled that that life imprisonment means imprisonment for entire life.
 Referring to the argument of counsel for petitioner that in terms of Section 57 of RPC, life imprisonment means imprisonment for 20 years, the court had held: “The argument is devoid of any force as the object of the said section is how to calculate the fractions of terms of punishment and provides that imprisonment for life shall be reckoned as equivalent to imprisonment for 20 years.”
 The court had said the contention that the provisions contained in the Jail Manual and Prisons Act mandate that imprisonment for life means 20 years has no substance. “The provisions contained in the Jail Manual, Prisons Act and Prisoners Act are just how to regulate and manage the prisoners in the prisons.”
  “It is the domain of the Government to consider the case along with the recommendation made and pass the order. Writ of mandamus cannot command the Government for passing such order or to release the convict after expiry of 14 years or 20 years without any specific order,” the Single Bench had held.
The Case
 Dr Qasim was first detained in 1993 under the Public Safety Act. However, after six years of imprisonment, a TADA court acquitted him of all the charges. Police later rearrested him at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi in 2002 after attending a conference on Kashmir in London.
 In 2003 he was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of his alleged involvement in murder of human rights activist, H N Wanchoo. Faktoo had denied the charges.
 Earlier, a bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court had directed to release him in 90 days. The government had challenged the decision in division bench and in September 2011, the division bench observed that TADA convict can’t be released prematurely after 14 years. The division bench said the case be considered only after the imprisonment of 20 years.
 Senior AAG, A M Magray represented state.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 24 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 24 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 25 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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