Utt HC | Release on parole is a wing of reformative process and is to transform prisoner into a useful citizen

Uttaranchal High Court: Manoj Kumar K. Tiwari, J. contemplated a petition where the prisoner had sought parole from the Court citing personal reasons.

In the instant petition the prisoner was incarcerated for 8 years and now had applied for parole for a period of 2 months, so that he can repair his ancestral house which is allegedly dilapidated. He had stated that his house was in a dilapidated condition and may fall anytime, it was further alleged that none of the other members of the family were in a position to get it repaired. He had further stated that he had submitted applications to the District Magistrate seeking parole; however, every time, he was denied parole merely on the basis of apprehension that he may jump parole.

The Court relied on Inder Singh v. State, (1978) 4 SCC 161, where the Supreme Court had held that, “if the behavior of these two prisoners’ shows responsibility and trustworthiness, liberal though cautious, parole will be allowed to them so that their family ties may be maintained and inner tensions may not further build-up. After every period of one year, they should be enlarged on parole for two months…” Another similar case note by the Court was in Devi v. State of Delhi, 1996 (36) DRJ 545, where the Court had held that, “Release on parole is a wing of reformative process and is expected to provide an opportunity to the prisoner to transform himself into a useful citizen.

The Court observed that, the decision in Inder Singh’s case was a message of compelling force and relevance to the prison pathology. A logical consequence of this decision was that parole had become an integral part of our criminal justice. The Court stated that “regardless of the crime a man may commit, he still is a human being and has human feelings also.” Therefore the nature and length of a sentence or the magnitude of the crime committed by the prisoner are not relevant for the purpose of grant of parole.

It was further observed that, ‘in construing the question of grant of parole to a prisoner, the Government in the scheme of the prison administration must take a constructive and purpose-oriented approach, and exercise its beneficent jurisdiction wisely. In such matters, the representation made by the prisoner must be construed liberally and not technically so as to frustrate or defeat the therapeutic treatment, hospital setting and correctional goals.’

The Court while granting parole also held that Article 21 of the Constitution is the jurisdiction root for this legal liberalism of parole.[Tejpal Singh v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 847, decided on 02-09-2019]

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