The state Monday justified its decision to grant remission of eight months to actor Sanjay Dutt, who had been convicted in the 1993 bomb blasts case, on account of his “good behaviour, discipline and participation in various institutional activities such as physical training, educational programmes and for performing the allotted work”.
The government denied allegations that any special treatment had been meted out to Dutt. The government submitted a report before a division bench of Justice R M Savant and Justice Sadhana Jadhav in response to a PIL by Pune resident Pradeep Bhalekar, questioning the regular paroles and furloughs granted to Dutt. Bhalekar in his petition alleged that Dutt got undue favour by the prisons department in the form of the remission.“The Maharashtra Prisons (Remission System) Rules provides for remission of up to three days per month for good behaviour, discipline and so on. In the present matter at hand as per the Rules, the accused (Dutt) is entitled for 256 days remission which comes to eight months and 16 days,” the government report said.
It added that on October 19, 2015, an application had been filed by Dutt seeking sanction for special remission that was rejected by the prisons department on December 15, 2015. This was allowed considering the accused’s “conduct and behaviour” and Dutt was released from jail on February 25, 2016.
The government said the state allows convicts seven days of remission each month if they follow prison rules and performs allotted duties. They are also entitled to an additional annual remission of 30 days if they display exemplary conduct. Such remissions, however, are not allowed while the convict is out of prison on parole or furlough.
Dutt was sentenced to six years’ rigorous imprisonment on July 31, 2007, under the Arms Act. In 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling but reduced the sentence to five years. During his imprisonment, Dutt got parole of 30 days each in December 2013, January 2014, and then in February 2014. He was granted parole for 30 days from August 26, 2015 owing to medical treatment of his family members. He was again granted furlough for 14 days from December 12, 2014
“It is pertinent to note that according to a circular issued by the state government in 2006, an accused is not entitled to benefit of ordinary remission during the extended period of parole or furlough leave. Accordingly, in the present matter the accused Sanjay Dutt is also not granted the benefit ….” the government report said.