Rajasthan High Court: A Division Bench of Manoj Kumar Garg and Sandeep Mehta, JJ. granted parole subject to reasonable conditions to ensure return of the convict to the prison after availing the parole.
The present petition was filed by the petitioner convict Rakesh praying that the requirement of furnishing surety bonds imposed while granting release on first parole of 20 days by District Parole Advisory Committee, Jodhpur be relaxed citing poor family conditions and other impediments. He is currently undergoing life imprisonment at the Open Air Camp, Barmer and has already served imprisonment of 14 years, 3 months and 20 days and has no means to comply with the condition aforesaid and continues to languish in custody.
The Court observed that by advancing the spirit of Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the courts have held time and again that reformative theory of punishment is the correct way to treat the convicts and to ensure their reintegration into society.
The Court further observed that as per Rule 10 of the Rajasthan Prisoners Release on Parole Rules, 2021, every prisoner, who has served a particular part of his sentence (with the maximum being 5 years for life convicts), earns a right to be considered for release on parole.
The Court observed that “we have come across numerous cases wherein, the convicts languishing in jails for prolonged periods unable to avail the facility of parole because of poverty/ illiteracy and other trivial thereby, frustrating the spirit of the welfare legislation i.e. the Rules of 2021 (previously Rules of 1958).”
The Court relied on Hussainara Khatoon v. Home Secretary, State of Bihar, AIR 1979 SC 1377 and observed that every State Government must take prompt steps to carry out its constitutional obligation to provide free legal services to every accused person who is in peril of losing his liberty and who is unable to defend himself through a lawyer by reason of his poverty or indigence in cases where the needs of justice s require. If free legal services are not provided to such an accused, the trial itself may run the risk of being vitiated as contravening Article 21 and we have no doubt that every State Government would try to avoid such a possible eventuality.
The Court directed the Member Secretary, Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority in coordination with the Director General of Prison, State of Rajasthan shall get prepared a computerized database of convicts lodged in the prisons all over the State of Rajasthan which may include the broad details viz. date of arrest of the convict; sentence served by him/her; jail punishment, if any; period of abscondance, if any; paroles granted, if any” and submit compliance report by 14-09-2021.
The Court further held it appropriate to grant the petitioner parole for a period of 40 days upon furnishing a personal bond in the sum of Rs 1,00,000/- only to the satisfaction of the Superintendent, District Jail, Barmer.[Rakesh v. State, 2021 SCC OnLine Raj 640, decided on 28-07-2021]
Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
For petitioner- By Post.
For respondent- Mr. Farzand Ali with Mr. Abhishek Purohit