House panel endorses sentencing bill

Kathmandu, February 19

The Legislation Committee of the Parliament has agreed on the provision of parole system, which allows conditional release of a prisoner to lead a law-abiding life. The system is based on reformative theory of punishment.

The system will allow suspension of jail term for convicts facing imprisonment of three years or less. The quantum of punishment bill, which was endorsed today by the committee, provisions parole system with parole board at federal and provincial levels.

According to Ram Narayan Bidari, a member of the committee, the provision will allow court to release a prisoner, who agrees to certain conditions prior to the completion his/her sentence. “A prisoner could be sent for public welfare related work on condition that he/she promises to maintain good behaviour,” Bidari said adding, “The new provision has taken normal crimes as an illness and criminals as patients.”

Rewati Rama Bhandari, another member of the committee informed that Parole Board will decide whether the prisoner should be released and sent for social work.

The new law also quashes imprisonment for children sentenced to three years or less in jail. Basically, the provision will be applied in cases in which a criminal faces three years of less in jail. “Prisoners facing more than three years in jail for serious crimes could also be released as per the new law after serving 75 per cent of the sentence. But the law would not apply for prisoners convicted of six heinous crimes defined by the Penal Code and rape.

Bidari also informed that the Parole Board would be formed at the provincial and central level. The Parole Board at the centre would be comprise include ministers and secretaries at the ministries of home affairs and law. In the provincial level, the board would comprise provincial ministers and secretaries.

Bidari said the provision of Parole Board is based on the humanistic principle that even if an offender commits a crime, he/she does not cease to be a human being and hence efforts should be made to reform him/her.