A PUBLIC interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Bombay High Court has demanded that the amount of time a prisoner spends out of the jail on parole or furlough should not be included in the prison term.
Quoting the Bombay Furlough and Prisons Rules, which state that the parole term cannot be treated as part of the jail sentence, the PIL seeks that an appropriate order be issued to the state government and the prisons department.
Filed by journalist and human rights activist Rajan Parkar, the petition labels two previous HC judgments that ruled parole should be counted as part of the prison sentence as “erroneous interpretation(s) of law”.
Parkar has also termed two government circulars issued in January and February 2006 by the home department on the inclusion of parole as ‘illegal’ and said they “deserve to be quashed and set aside”.
The petition alleges that some prisoners are benefiting from parole orders by managing a “good police report”. The state government has also been accused of “blindly” granting parole on the basis of the report given by the police. “Really needy prisoners do not get parole leave owing to their poverty and failure to manage a police report,” says the petition.
Claiming to have filed the PIL in the interest of the victims of crimes, Parkar has calculated that a person sentenced to five years in prison could be released after serving only roughly 60 per cent of the term.
In Maharashtra, a prisoner is entitled to 90 days of parole and 14 days of furlough, which can be further increased by 14 days by the divisional commissioner. While furlough is granted as a right to the prisoner and considered part of the prison term, parole is granted by a board of officers for good behaviour.
According to the prison rules, the petition states, a prisoner can remain outside prison for 118 days a year and “still get the benefit of completion of one full year in prison”. Parkar’s lawyer Valmiky Narvekar said the PIL would be heard by the HC on December 9.