The Delhi government’s sentence review board is learnt to have recommended the premature release of Manu Sharma, serving life sentence for the murder of model Jessica Lall in a city restaurant in 1999. Sources said the board took the decision in a meeting held on Monday. Apart from Sharma, the board recommended the release of 21 other prisoners.
However, the board’s recommendations will have to be approved by L-G Anil Baijal before they can be enforced. Sharma is among prisoners currently out on parole as part of measures to decongest jails to ensure social distancing among prisoners.
A Delhi government spokesperson said over 1,000 people have been released on parole and 22/37 examined cases were recommended for premature release based on merit. “All 22 cases were fit for release based on the prescribed criteria,” said the spokesperson.
Sharma’s case has come up for review multiple times since 2017, only to be rejected. The sentence review board is chaired by the Delhi Home Minister. Director General (Prisons), Principal Secretary (Home), Principal Secretary (Law), Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), the government’s chief probation officer and a district judge are also part of the committee.
An application for remission is considered only when a life convict has spent 14 years in jail. The board takes into account several factors such as conduct of the prisoner in jail, whether crime was premeditated or a spur of the moment act, nature and gravity of crime, propensity for committing crime, prospects of post release rehabilitation etc.
In 2018, Jesicca Lal’s sister Sabrina Lal had written to Tihar Jail authorities stating that she has no objections to Sharma’s release.
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