Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu surrendered before the court on Friday and was sent to the Patiala central Jail, a day after being sentenced to one-year rigorous imprisonment by the Supreme Court in a 1988 road rage death case.
Now, speculations are rife about Sidhu’s term in jail, and how it will be, along with any possible changes to its length. According to reports, Sidhu’s term may be shortened to less than 8 months, “if he behaves well and prison officials and the Punjab government grant him exceptional remissions.”
What is a Remission?
In the simplest terms, remission is a reduction in sentence.
Sidhu, who was sentenced to one year in prison by the Supreme Court, will receive an automatic 48-day reduction in his sentence in exchange for working in the jail factory. “A convict gets four days of remission per month, including the first three months of training during which he is not paid,” a jail official told the Tribune.
The Jail Superintendent has the authority to reduce a convict’s sentence by further 30 days. Almost all convicts receive this, with the exception of those who engage in serious indiscipline.
How Could Sidhu Get a Reduced Sentence?
The Director General of Police (Jails) or the Additional Director General of Police (Jails) has the authority to grant a third remission of 60 days, although this is only done in extraordinary circumstances and with political permission.
It is now being speculated in some reports that because of his ‘good relations’ with Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, Sidhu stands a high possibility of benefiting from this remission. The CM recently met with Sidhu, who is the only leader from an Opposition party who has been granted privileged access to the CM.
Sidhu and Mann Connect
Sidhu, who resigned from his post as Punjab Congress chief after party president Sonia Gandhi’s order which came in the face of Congress’s dismal performance in the recently held assembly elections in five states, had been in thorny glances of the party high command for a while.
He had held a meeting with Mann two weeks ago and boasted about the ‘receptiveness’ of the newly crowned AAP CM for Punjab.
Sidhu had claimed after the meeting (held to discuss economic issues) that the fifty minutes spent with Mann were “most constructive” and that the chief minister was “quite receptive.”
“Most constructive 50 minutes spent… Reiterated the pro Punjab agenda that I have stood for years… Talked about means to generate income, it’s the only solution to end Punjab’s problem… CM @BhagwantMann was very receptive… Assured that he will deliver on people’s aspirations…,” Sidhu had said in a tweet at the time.
What Will Sidhu’s Life in Prison Look Like?
While in prison, Sidhu will undergo training without pay for three months, according to the Punjab Jail Manual. After that, he will be classified as unskilled, semi-skilled or skilled. Inmates earn Rs 30 to Rs 90 on a daily basis.
Inmates work for eight hours per day and their charges are borne by the government. According to the manual, 25 per cent earnings by the inmate are as jail currency while the rest is put into a savings account.
Here’s what a day in Sidhu’s life may look like in prison:
- The day in jail starts at 5.30 am
- At 7 am, biscuits or black chickpeas are served with tea
- A brunch of six chapatis, dal or vegetables will be served at 8.30 am following which the inmates go to work
- Inmates finish their work, allotted as per category, at 5.30 pm
- Prisoners eat their dinner of six chapatis, dal or vegetables at 6 pm
- By 7 pm, all inmates are locked inside their barracks