No mercy releases this year in AP

AMARAVATI: Releasing prisoners on the grounds of well-behavior and good discipline on national celebration days, has been a tradition followed by State governments since a long time. However, the Andhra Pradesh government seems to be not at all interested in following the tradition as sources confirmed that the state government will not entertain mercy releases, this year too.

To be precise, the Andhra Pradesh government has not released any prisoner on the grounds of good behavior and discipline since the bifurcation in 2014. The only mercy release that took place was in 2016, for which the process started in 2013 when Kiran Kumar Reddy was the chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh.

Though influential MPs and MLAs are trying their best to get some prisoners out in the name of good discipline, Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naidu is reportedly keeping a side such requests. Notably, the mercy release of prisoners was practiced every year in the past, even when Chandra Babu Naidu ruled the state.

A closer look at the scenario may hint us that the state government is not taking up any step in this direction due to the recent serious comments by Supreme court on Kerala government over the same issue of mercy releases. Earlier, the Honorable Supreme Court warned States to not use mercy releases as a reason to safeguard high-profile people in prisons.

Meanwhile, the jail inmates are reportedly waiting for a call from the state government for mercy releases on the occasion of Independence Day. “They are waiting for it and hoping for a positive call from the state government this year”, a Superintendent of Police controlling the division of jails said. “It is a long process and should be started by the government, we don’t have the power to write to the government over the same”.

The process starts with the State government requesting the Jail authorities to send the list of prisoners with a good discipline, to be released on Independence Day or Republic Day. Prisoners can also be released on Gandhi Jayanthi on the grounds of old age and ill-health. It starts with the authorities sending the list of prisoners names to the Home Ministry, which in turn makes corrections and sends the file for the approval of the state cabinet. Prisoners are released after the Governor gives his nod to the proposed list of names, at the end.

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