Supreme Court: In the case where the appellant, a TADA convict, had applied for release on parole and was refused the same by the Rajasthan High Court, the bench of Dr. AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, JJ held that the Rajasthan Prisoners Release on Parole Rule, 1958 that were notified in the year 1955 are mere skeleton and need to be urgently updated thereby including comprehensive provisions. The Court also asked the Ministry of Law & Justice to give due consideration to this aspect and frame comprehensive rules for release of prisoners on parole.

Giving guidelines for determining whether a convict is fit to be released on parole or not, the Court said that mere nature of the offence committed by him should not be a factor to deny the parole outrightly. Wherever a person convicted has suffered incarceration for a long time, he can be granted temporary parole, irrespective of the nature of offence for which he was sentenced. It was explained:

“if a person has committed a serious offence for which he is convicted, but at the same time it is also found that it is the only crime he has committed, he cannot be categorised as a hardened criminal. In his case consideration should be as to whether he is showing the signs to reform himself and become a good citizen or there are circumstances which would indicate that he has a tendency to commit the crime again or that he would be a threat to the society.”

However, in those cases where a person has been convicted for committing a serious office, the competent authority, while examining such cases, can be well advised to have stricter standards in mind while judging their cases on the parameters of good conduct, habitual offender or while judging whether he could be considered highly dangerous or prejudicial to the public peace and tranquillity, etc.

The Court was hearing the matter relating to application of parole of a life convict who was convicted for his role in serial bomb blasts that took place in in five trains on December 06, 1993 at the behest of certain miscreants on the first anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition and has been in prison since almost 10 years. The Court refused to grant him parole on the basis of the report of the Jail authorities which stated that given the nature of the crime committed by him, there was not only danger to the society but also to his life, if were to be released. It was, however, clarified that the appellant was at liberty to, after some time, renew his request for parole when the present atmosphere prevailing outside changes. [Asfaq v. State of Rajasthan,  2017 SCC OnLine SC 1092, decided on 11.09.2017]


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