Prison punishment reduced on humanitarian grounds where prisoner overstayed furlough period

High Court of Bombay: Examining the aspects of prison punishment granted to  prisoners, the Division Bench  comprising of V.K. Tahilramani and  Mridula Bhatkar, JJ., held that the prison punishment could be reduced on humanitarian grounds in case the prisoner overstayed the period granted in furlough. Ruling in favour of  the petitioner, the Court reduced the punishment of a prisoner who,  overstayed the period of furlough leave granted to him, by 93 days, as his wife was not keeping well and had to undergo hysterectomy.
The petitioner was granted 14 days furlough leave pursuant to his application  and was released on March 20, 2004, however,the petitioner did  not present himself on time i.e. on April 4, 2004 before the jail authorities. Hence he was arrested and brought back to jail on July 7, 2004. In reply to the show-cause notice issued to the petitioner  requiring explanation for the over-stay, the petitioner submitted that his wife was sick and  required hysterectomy, hence he was unable to  surrender himself before the jail authorities on time. Thus prison punishment was imposed on the petitioner to forfeit his remission in the ratio of 1:5  i.e. for each day of overstay, 5 days of remission would be cut. The petitioner being aggrieved by the prison punishment contends it to be harsh and that it should be set aside.
The Court  held that the prison punishment ought to be reduced on account of humanitarian grounds in case the prisoner overstayed the period granted in furlough and thus on hearing the explanation submitted by the petitioner, reduced the prison punishment of the petitioner in the ratio of 1:3 i.e. for every day of overstay, 3 days of remission would be cut, instead of the original punishment  in the ratio of 1:5. [Takku Singh  v. State of Maharashtra 2016 SCC OnLine Bom 8834, decided on September 22, 2016]

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