Government eases criteria for clemency

Kathmandu, May 6

The government has amended the Prison Regulation, 1963 for the fourth time to reduce up to 60 per cent of the sentence of inmates demonstrating good conduct.

As per the amendment to Rule 29 (1) of the regulation published in the Nepal Gazette, the government may waive off the remaining jail term of the prisoners, who have been convicted of petty crimes and have already served at least 40 per cent of the jail term, if they have demonstrated good conduct in prison.

Earlier, pardon was granted only to jailbirds who completed at least half their jail sentence.

However, jailbirds convicted of organised crime, kidnapping and hostage-taking, rape, molestation, human trafficking, customs evasion, jailbreak, corruption and smuggling of drug and body parts of wild animals will not be eligible for pardon.

Similarly, Rule 29 (2a) has been amended as per which up to 75 per cent of the remaining terms of jailbirds who are above 65 years of age and have demonstrated good conduct may be commuted.

Earlier, the age-limit was fixed at 70 or above. Similarly, any prisoner, who has lost vision of both eyes, and is bed-ridden and physically incapacitated, may also be granted pardon on the recommendation of government doctors.

Meanwhile, the Department of Prison Management has written to all prisons across the country to

send the name list of prisoners eligible for pardon on the occasion of the Republic Day (May 28) in accordance with the new amendment to the regulation.

Upon receiving the name list, the DoPM will forward it to the Ministry of Home Affairs for submission to the Cabinet for approval and the announcement of pardon by the president.

The country has 74 prisons in 72 of 75 districts. Bhaktapur, Bara and Dhanusha do not have any prison, while Kathmandu and Dang have two prisons each.

The 74 prisons with a total capacity of just 11,500 persons were crammed with more than 17,905 jailbirds as of mid-April.

The pardon also aims to reduce pressure on overcrowded prisons.