Case BriefsCOVID 19Supreme Court

Supreme Court: After the Court  had, on March 23, 2020, directed each State/Union Territory to constitute a High Powered Committee to determine which class of prisoners can be released on parole or an interim bail for such period as may be thought appropriate, the 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and L. Nageswara Rao and MM Shantanagoudar, JJ has further directed that no prisoner shall be released if he/she has suffered from coronavirus disease in communicable form hereafter.

The said direction came after Attorney General KK Venugopal submitted before the Court that the release and transportation of the prisoners would itself result in transmission of coronavirus from prisons or detention centres to locations where the released prisoners have to reach.

Directions on release of prisoners suffering from Coronavirus

  • No prisoner shall be released if he/she has suffered from coronavirus disease in communicable form hereafter. For this purpose, appropriate tests will be carried out.
  • If it is found that a prisoner who has been released is suffering from coronavirus after the release, necessary steps will be taken by the concerned authority by placing him/her in appropriate quarantine facility.
  • Transportation shall be done in full compliance of the Rules and Norms of social distancing. For instance, no transportation shall be allowed in excess of half or one fourth capacity of the bus as may be found appropriate to ensure that the passengers who have been found to be free of coronavirus disease are at a distance from each other.
  • The order dated 23.03.2020 shall be applicable to correctional homes, detention centres and protection homes.

On compulsory release of prisoners by all States/UTs

On being informed that the State of Bihar has not found it appropriate to release the prisoners for complete absence of any patient suffering from coronavirus within the prisons and also for the reason that the prisons are not overcrowded, the Court made it clear that it has not directed the States/ Union Territories to compulsorily release the prisoners from their respective prisons.

It was brought to the Court’s notice that a prisoner who was “accused” of suffering from coronavirus was murdered in Bihar. The Court, however, said,

“The purpose of our aforesaid order was to ensure the States/Union Territories to assess the situation in their prisons having regard to the outbreak of the present pandemic in the country and release certain prisoners and for that purpose to determine the category of prisoners to be released.”

On release of prisoners declared as foreigners under the Foreigners Act, 1946

The Court accepted the prayer that the period of three years for release of prisoners declared as foreigners be reduced to one year so that detenues who have completed 7 more than two years may be release.

The Court had, on  10.05.2019, in Supreme Court Legal Services Committee v. Union of India directed that the release of detenues who have served long period of detention in the detention centres awaiting their deportation is concerned, we are of the view that detenues who have completed more than three years may be released.

The Court, modifying it’s earlier order, held,

“we see no reason why the period should not be reduced from three years to two years, that is to say, the prisoners or detenues who have been under detention for two years shall be entitled to be released on the same terms and conditions as those laid down in the aforesaid order dated 10.05.2019, except that they shall not be required to furnish a bond in the sum of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees one lakh only). Instead they shall be required to furnish a bond in the sum of Rs.5,000/- (Rupees five thousand only) with two sureties of the 8 like sum of Indian citizens.”

[IN RE : CONTAGION OF COVID 19 VIRUS IN PRISONS, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 365, order dated 13.04.2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19Supreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of SA Bobde, CJ and L. Nageswara Rao, J has asked the Union of India to ensure that all the prisoners having been released by the States/Union Territories are not left stranded and they are provided transportation to reach their homes or given the option to stay in temporary shelter homes for the period of lockdown.

The said direction of the Court came after amicus curiae Senior advocate Dushyant Dave submitted before the Court that the prisoners who have been released according to the guidelines framed by the High Powered Committees in various States are stranded because they have no means to reach their homes or their places of residence. The Court, hence, directed that

“the Union of India may issue appropriate directions under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 or any other law for the time being in force.”

The Court, further, directed the States/Union Territories to ensure through Directors General of Police to provide safe transit to the prisoners who have been released so that they may reach their homes.

“They shall also be given an option for staying in temporary shelter homes during the period of lockdown.”

The Court had, on March 23, 2020, directed each State/Union Territory to constitute a High Powered Committee to determine which class of prisoners can be released on parole or an interim bail for such period as may be thought appropriate. It had said,

Having regard to the provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution of India, it has become imperative to ensure that the spread of the Corona Virus within the prisons is controlled.”

[IN RE: CONTAGION OF COVID 19 VIRUS IN PRISONS, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 356 , order dated 07.04.2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Rajiv Narain Raina, J. allowed the petition to grant furlough to the petitioner and quashed the impugned order passed by the District Magistrate disallowing the same. 

The instant petition was made with the prayer that the petitioner be granted the benefit of furlough for a period of two weeks to enable him to meet his family members. The petitioner was convicted under Section 302 of the Penal Code.

The application of the petitioner for furlough was rejected on the grounds that the petitioner had recently availed parole period from 12.06.2019 to 28.06.2019. The District Magistrate, Karnal refused to recommend furlough to the petitioner to meet his family. The Divisional Commissioner, Karnal Division, Karnal by applying the provisions of Section 6 (1) of the amended Act of 2012 of the Haryana Temporary Good Conduct Prisoners (Temporary Release) Act, 1988 supported the stance of the District Magistrate.

The Court observed that there was no report in the impugned order stating that the release of the petitioner on furlough would involve a breach of the security of the State or he would pose a danger to society or create law and order problems. The court also noted that the petitioner had already undergone about 10 years and 5 months as under trial and after his conviction. Moreover, the petitioner had already availed the benefit of parole in the month of June, 2019 and he surrendered in time after the parole period was over.

After considering the aforementioned facts and taking into account the aforesaid relevant consideration, the court deemed it appropriate to grant the benefit of furlough to the petitioner for a period of two weeks.

In view of the above-noted facts, the instant petition was allowed with the direction that the District Magistrate concerned, would impose such conditions as may be required to secure the presence of the petitioner in jail after the period of furlough, is over and done with and the temporary release would not be misused. [Deepak Sharma v. State of Haryana, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 2089, decided on 19-10-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Gurvinder Singh Gill, J. dismissed the petition on the grounds that the petitioner could be considered again for premature release only after he underwent the requisite period of imprisonment in terms of the policy of Premature Release dated 12-4-2002.

The petitioner approached the Court seeking quashing of the order whereby the case of the petitioner for his premature release had been rejected. The petitioner was convicted for having committed offences punishable under Sections 302/149, 148 IPC and Section 25 of Arms Act whereby he was sentenced to undergo imprisonment.  The petitioner had preferred an appeal challenging his conviction which was dismissed vide judgment dated 20-4-2009.

The premature release of the petitioner was declined by the State of Haryana since his case fell under Para 2(a)(xi), (xii) & (xiv) which corresponds to danger to public safety and heinous crime of the policy. The petitioner was involved in eight other criminal offences of murder, attempt to murder, dacoity, Arms Act, conspiracy, etc. He had been a parole jumper twice and thus he was considered to be a danger to public safety.

Also, his case should be considered after 14 years of actual sentence including under trial period provided that the total period of such sentence including remission is not less than 20 years. The petitioner had completed twelve years one month and twenty-eight days of actual sentence including under trial period.

The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that his case was squarely covered under policy dated 12-4-2002 issued by Government of Haryana which was applicable to the petitioner.

The learned State counsel submitted that the petitioner has remained involved in as many as 9 cases, which indicated that the petitioner was a habitual offender, thus, disentitling him for any benefit of premature release. It has further been submitted that the petitioner had also committed two jail offences regarding which FIR was registered.

High Court held that the convict could not claim his premature release as a matter of right and it is only if his case is squarely covered under the policy in existence at the time of conviction of the accused that he may be considered for his premature release. Such concession of premature release would only be extended to the convict keeping in view various factors including his conduct, behavior, antecedents and the likelihood of breach of peace in the eventuality of his release, etc. Further as per Para 4 of the policy dated 12-4-2002, the conduct during the last 5 years from the date of his eligibility for consideration of a premature release would be considered. The petitioner having been involved in the offence under Haryana Good Conduct Prisoners (Temporary Release) Act, 1988 in the year 2012 was disentitled to be considered during the next 5 years thus the impugned order rejecting the claim of the petitioner was justified. As such, the Court found no infirmity in the impugned order.

In view of the above-noted facts, the instant petition was dismissed and the recommendation of the State Level Committee against the premature release of the petitioner would be reconsidered after completion of 14 years actual sentence and 20 years total sentence as per policy dated 12-04-2002.[Parvesh v. State of Haryana, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 1760, decided on 18-09-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

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]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: A Division Bench of Sandeep Mehta and Abhay Chaturvedi, JJ. accepted a writ petition for parole and directed the convict-petitioner for parole of twenty days.

In the present case, the convict petitioner was serving life imprisonment term at the Open Air Camp at Bikaner wherein his first parole writ petition was accepted and was granted the same by the present Court vide order dated 14-02-2019. However, due to financial constraints, owing to poor family condition, the convict could not avail the facility of parole as there was no person who could be entrusted as a surety for the same.

Additional Advocate General representing the State, Farzand Ali, submitted a family status report of the convict which did not indicate that any of the family members has any immovable property in their name.

The High Court upon perusal of pieces of evidence, facts and circumstances placed on record, accepted the writ petition and directed the convict-petitioner to be released on first parole for twenty days.[Sonu v. State, 2019 SCC OnLine Raj 1404, decided on 10-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: The Bench of V.P. Patel, J., allowed the application filed for temporary bail under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to release the applicant-accused on temporary bail on the ground of medical treatment of the son of the applicant as he was injured by cow. 

The facts of the case were that the applicant-accused’s son was injured which was proven by the medical report submitted with the application. The father and uncle of the applicant were also in jail. The other brother of the applicant was enlarged on bail but on the condition of not entering into the territory of the district. Therefore, he was not in a position to take care of the son of the applicant. While opposing the application, the respondent vehemently submitted that the applicant-accused was involved in a murder case and the sister of the deceased who was an eye-witness of the murder case was also killed by the associates of the present applicant. 

The Court stated that the object of the parole is to enable the inmate to maintain continuity with his family life and deal with the family matter; to save the inmate from the evil effects of continuous prison life; to enable the inmate to maintain constructive hope and active interest in the life. Thus taking into account the fact that the applicant was not released on temporary bail since more than two and a half years and considering the pitiable condition of the son of the applicant the application was allowed. [Parmar Jigneshbhai Raghubhai v. State of Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 843, decided on 14-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: A Division Bench comprising of C.T. Selvam and S. Ramathilagam, JJ. ordered parole of two weeks to a life-convict in light of exercising his conjugal rights.

In the present case, the petitioner is the wife of the life convict, who sought leave for her husband for the purpose of the exercise of conjugal rights. Petitioner’s husband is an undertrial prisoner and is a convict under two cases, on the file of Principal District and Sessions Court, Pudukottai, jail authorities are said to be precluded from granting leave to detenu under Section 35 of Tamil Nadu Suspension of Sentence Rules, 1982.

While placing reliance on the decision of Madras High Court, Madurai Bench in Meharaj v. State, 2018 1 HCC (Mad) 150 in which it was stated that:

“Conjugal visit leads to strong family bonds and keep the family functional rather than the family becoming dysfunctional due to prolonged isolation and lack of sexual contact.”;

the High Court considered the above-stated decision to be appropriate and concluded to grant leave to the petitioner’s husband for the purpose of conjugal visit for a period of two weeks subject to certain conditions. [P. Muthumari v. Home Secretary,2018 SCC OnLine Mad 3304, dated 26-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sanjeev Sachdeva, J. allowed a petition for extension of parole subject to the conditions of, inter alia, furnishing a personal bond with one surety.

The petitioner sought grant of parole already granted to him by the Competent Authority. The parole was granted to enable the petitioner to file a special leave petition which was further extended for a period of two weeks. the ground taken by the petitioner for seeking grant of parole was that his wife was suffering from a skin disease who was admitted in a hospital and they had two minor children. The status report filed verified the fact stated by the petitioner. The Additional Public Prosecutor for the State submitted that mother of the petitioner lived in the vicinity. The petitioner submitted that his mother being a senior citizen was not in a position to take care of the minor children and attend to his wife.

The High Court, keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the case, granted the petitioner parole for a period of three weeks. However, it imposed the conditions of furnishing a personal bond of Rs 4000 with one surety of the like amount. Also, the petitioner was directed to maintain peace and good behaviour during the period of his release and remain at his residential address. The petition was disposed of in terms above. [Raj Kumar v. State,2018 SCC OnLine Del 12193, dated 31-10-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: The Single Judge Bench comprising of V.K. Bist, J. disposed of a petition while giving certain directions in regard to granting of parole to be decided on a priority basis, before the application becomes infructuous.

In the present case, the facts of the case state that, the petitioner was languishing in jail and was convicted and completing his sentence for the offence committed. During the time petitioner was serving sentence, his father passed away. Petitioner had moved his application for custody parole before District Magistrate, Haridwar which was rejected and he was unable to attend the last rites of his father. Petitioner being the eldest son in his family had to perform the last rites of his father for which he again moved his application for parole to the District Magistrate, Haridwar, but yet again his application was rejected. Superintendent, District Jail had moved petitioner’s report to the District Magistrate, yet the parole of 6 hours to attend terahveen of his father was not accepted. Due to the stated action of the District Magistrate, Haridwar, petitioner sent his petition to the High Court.

The High Court, on noting petitioner’s grievance, stated that it is a pious duty of a son to give funeral fire to his parents and perform last rituals of his parents. If a son is deprived of this right, the mental agony suffered by him can nowhere be expressed in words. “The inhumane conduct of the then District Magistrate, Haridwar is condemned.”

Therefore, the Court while appreciating the petitioner’s concern about other detainees stated that when a detainee seeks parole or custody parole to perform some rituals to be performed on his part towards his family, the authority concerned should immediately take appropriate decision for grant of parole/ custody parole, depending on the facts of the case. In such a situation, the parole or custody parole should not be denied. [Raju v. State of Uttarakhand,2018 SCC OnLine Utt 924, order dated 24-10-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench comprising of R.K. Deshpande and Arun D. Upadhye, JJ., addressed a petition filed challenging the order of a Divisional Commissioner, Amravati on refusal to grant parole on the basis of Rule 4(b)(13) read with Rule (2)(B)(i) of Maharashtra Prisons (Bombay Furlough an Parole) Rules, 1959. The Court placed this matter before Chief Justice to be referred to a larger bench.

The present petition pertained to the facts that the petitioner was a convict for the offence under Section 376 IPC for the offence of rape. The sentence imposed upon him was of 10 years imprisonment under Section 376(2)(a) and 1-year imprisonment under Section 342 IPC. Petitioner was refused a parole. Though he was recommended for the same by the authorities due to the bar under  Rule 4(b)(13) read with Rule (2)(B)(i) of Maharashtra Prisons (Bombay Furlough an Parole) Rules, 1959, he was refused parole.

The Learned APP on behalf of the respondents relied on Sharad Devaram Shelake v. State of Maharashtra, 2016 SCC OnLine Bom 2448, wherein the above-stated rule was upheld. The division bench in the above-stated case had relied upon the decision of Supreme Court in State of Haryana v. Jai Singh,(2003) 9 SCC 114, wherein it was held, “Classification created for imposing bar to grant parole or furlough, based on the nature of offences, is a valid classification for the purpose of deciding whether the persons who have committed such offences should be granted remission or not.”

On due consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case along with the contentions placed, the Court was of the view that the matter should be referred to larger bench instead of making out a distinction between the decision of State of Haryana v. Jai Singh,(2003) 9 SCC 114 and Sharad Devaram Shelake v. State of Maharashtra, 2016 SCC OnLine Bom 2448.

Therefore, the Court referred the case to a larger bench for the consideration of the issue: “Whether Rule 4(13) Maharashtra prisons (Bombay Furlough and Parole) Rules, 1959 creating an absolute bar to claim release on furlough leave and consequently Rule 19(2)(B)(i) of the Rules of 1959 to claim release on parole leave to the convict for the offence of rape is violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India, particularly when the offenders in other serious offences are entitled to such leave?” [Vijay Pralhad Varankar v. Division Commr., Amravati;2018 SCC OnLine Bom 2261; dated 23-08-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: While deciding a criminal writ petition, a Single Judge Bench comprising of Vinit Kumar Mathur, CJ, discussed the consideration before releasing a prisoner on parole.

The petitioner was serving life sentence for offences punishable under Sections 302 and 394 of IPC. He had already undergone a sentence of about 21 years. His application for being released on permanent parole was rejected by the Committee concerned on the reasoning that he had absconded from custody on two earlier occasions.

The Court found that the said two misdemeanours relate to the year 2007 and 2012. The entitlement to be released on parole was granted under Rule 9 of the Rajasthan Prisoners Release on Parole Rules, 1958. It was observed that the only consideration contemplated by the Rule is to see whether the prisoner’s conduct has been such that he is not likely to relapse into the crime. Further, a person who is serving a sentence has obviously committed a brush with the law. During the period of incarceration there may be acts of misdemeanor and the same would certainly be a valid reason. But merely looking at the said acts and nothing more would be a case of wrong application of mind. On the basis of the discussion, the Court held that the Committee concerned had misdirected the enquiry. The petition was disposed of by directing the competent authority to reconsider petitioner’s entitlement to be released on permanent parole in light of the discussion as mentioned hereinabove. [Bhuri Singh v. State, 2018 SCC OnLine Raj 1096, dated 1-5-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: The order denying parole to the petitioner (convict) based on the report of the District Magistrate was set aside by a Single Judge Bench comprising of Rakesh Kumar Jain, J.

The petitioner who was lodged in Central Jail at Amritsar was convicted and sentenced under Sections 21 and 25 of NDPS Act, 1985. His application for grant of parole was dismissed on the basis of the report of the District Magistrate holding that if the petitioner was released on parole, he would again indulge in smuggling of drugs and would be a threat to the State security and maintenance of public order. Instant petition was filed impugning the said order.

The submissions were duly considered by the High Court. The Court also perused Section 6 of Punjab Good Conduct Prisoners (Temporary Release) Act, 1962 which provides ground for rejection of application for parole on the basis of report of District Magistrate, if the State Government is satisfied that his release is likely to endanger security of the State or maintenance of public order. Referring to its various earlier decisions, the Court observed that there has to be a positive report with the police to draw a conclusion that the convict’s release on parole would endanger the security of the State or the maintenance of public order. However, in the instant case, except for the apprehension shown by the respondents that the petitioner having been convicted in a case registered under the NDPS Act, on his being released, would again indulge in the same trade, was not per se a case of his causing danger to the security of the State and maintenance of public order. Therefore, the Court held that the matter required reconsideration in accordance with law, and remitted the matter back to respondents. [Sumit Kumar v. State of Punjab,  2018 SCC OnLine P&H 413, order dated 25-04-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: A petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution praying to grant first regular parole to the convict-petitioner for twenty days, was allowed by a Single Judge Bench comprising of Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia, J.

Earlier, the application for grant of parole filed by the petitioner was declined by the learned District Magistrate. The parole was denied on the ground that there was apprehension that in case the petitioner was released on parole, there may be a breach of peace.

The High Court was of the opinion that the parole is granted to a convict so that he is able to meet his family members and carry his obligations towards family. Release of a convict on parole promotes tranquility, peace, prosperity, happiness and goodwill in the society. Further, mere assertion of the police that public peace will be disturbed, without placing on record any material for the perusal of the court is not sufficient. It is a mere excuse and cannot be raised in every case until the State justify and place on record any substantial material that if the petitioner is released on parole, the same will cause disturbance in the society. In the instant case also, the Court found that no material was placed on record by the police to show how public peace would be disturbed if the petitioner was granted parole.

The Court held that there was no reason to deny parole to the petitioner. Therefore, order of the District Magistrate as mentioned hereinabove was set aside and the petitioner was granted first regular parole for a period of twenty days. [Ram Mohan v. State of Rajasthan, 2018 SCC OnLine Raj 672, dated 02-01-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A murder convict was released on parole to attend the marriage of his daughter, by a Division Bench comprising of Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Dinesh Kumar Singh, JJ.
The petitioner who was convicted under Sections 302, 307, etc. of IPC was sentenced for life imprisonment. He applied for grant of parole to attend the marriage ceremony of his daughter. The State Government, by the impugned order, rejected the said application of the petitioner on the basis of report of the District Magistrate, wherein it was stated that if the petitioner is released on parole, the possibility of some untoward incident could not be ruled out as the family of the victim resided in the vicinity. Aggrieved thus, the petitioner filed the instant petition.
The High Court, after a due consideration of the impugned order as well as the report of the District Magistrate, was of the view that the order of rejection of parole passed by the State Government did not only disclose any other reason than the said report, but also does not recite any adverse fact or material on which such report was based. Only because family of the victim resided in the same area as that of the petitioner, and the District Magistrate was of the opinion that it may cause some untoward incident; it could not be said that it would have affected ‘peace and tranquility of the state’ as mentioned in Rule 6(2) of Uttar Pradesh (Suspension of Sentence of Prisoners) Rules, 2007. Further, the amplitude of possibility of peace and tranquility of the area being affected can not be equated with the possibility of some altercation between two neighbours.
On the basis of above observations, the Court allowed the instant petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution and granted parole to the petitioner to attend marriage of his daughter, with necessary direction to the authorities concerned. [Rampal Gautam v. State of U.P.,  2018 SCC OnLine All 159, order dated 16-02-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: In a recent case before the Court, the petitioner prayed for issuance of directions to the respondents for granting six weeks’ parole on the ground that he has to meet his family members.The application for same was submitted to Superintendent General of Jail through whom it had been recommended to the District Magistrate and thereafter, refused on the ground that it was apprehended that he may abscond or become proclaimed offender and indulge again in drug business.

However, it is important to mention that along with the application for parole, is attached a Panchayat resolution that there is no danger to peace of law, in case, the petitioner is granted parole. The Court went through the records of the petitioner and could easily see that petitioner is not involved in any other NDPS case either prior to 2015 or subsequent to registration of the FIR or during the period of one year when he remained on bail in the case he has been sentenced for.

The Bench of Arvind Singh Sangwan, J. noticed and highlighted the fact that the petitioner has never misused the concession of bail during the pendency of the trial and was not found in involved any other such or similar case and therefore, giving such reasons for declining him the parole would not be justified. Hence, the Court directed that the case of releasing the petitioner on six weeks parole will have be reconsidered by the respondent-authorities. [Kuldeep Singh v. State of Punjab,  2017 SCC OnLine P&H 2917, decided on 10.11.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

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]

 

Case BriefsHigh Courts

High Court for Andhra Pradesh & Telangana: The Court dismissed a writ petition seeking a writ of mandamus which claimed that the request for extension of parole of the petitioner has been pending and no action whatsoever has been taken on it.

The petitioner, serving a life sentence, requested for his parole to be extended from 31.07.2017 to 30.01.2018 on the ground that his mother is quite old and suffering from serious health issues. This request petition has not been disposed of.

The Court stated that sub-rule 16 of  Rule 974 of the Andhra Pradesh Prison Rules clearly specifies that parole cannot be granted for prolonged illness of relatives. Sub-rule 12 states that the period of parole cannot exceed two weeks except in cases of emergency. The petitioner had already been granted parole for 30 days which was further extended by 15 days. Since the grounds mentioned by the petitioner are anyway not allowed under the Rules, therefore, no case can be made out for non-passing of orders. Hence the petition was dismissed. [P. Liyakat Ali Khan v. State of A.P., Writ Petition No. 25526 of 2017, decided on 02.08.2017]