Chennai: The Madras High Court yesterday made it clear that the Set off period of the sentence already undergone by a life convict is not a charity, but law's guarantee.
“To the entitlement of a life convict to set off the period of detention undergone by them during the investigation is no more a question to be decided in view of the Judgement of Supreme Court as well as Section 428 of Criminal Procedure Code,” the Division Bench, comprising Justices S Rajeswaran and P N Prakash said.
They were delivering the judgement on a batch of pending criminal appeals where life convicts prayed to set off their period of detention undergone at the time of Investigation.
The bench also directed all trial courts in Tamil Nadu to refer to Section 428 Cr PC, and give details of the period in prison already undergone by the accused in that case up to the date of Judgment, be it conviction or acquittal.
If he has not undergone any period of detention in that case prior to the judgement, that shall also be mentioned.
The bench also directed to give particulars on the period of pre-conviction detention in the warrant of commitment and to send a copy of the Judgment together with the Warrant of Commitment to the Prison Authorities.
Stating that it has come to the court's notice that when prisoners are transferred from one prison to other, particulars on pre-conviction detention are seldom sent to the receiving prison due to which problems arise in calculating the period of set off, the court suggested that the best way to obviate this difficulty was to install Digital Finger Printing Machines in all 136 prisons in the State.
“We are suggesting to the State Government to install this facility in all the prisons in the State so that even if a prison riot takes place, information will not get totally obliterated for it can be stored in the Office of the Additional Director General of Prison also.
We are marking a copy of this order to the Home Secretary, State of Tamil Nadu to do the needful in this regard,” the court said.