Conviction is not a nexus for parole: Bombay High Court

Grant or refusal of parole does not appear to have anything to do with either the conviction or the place of court convicting. Conviction appears to be of little concern so far as grant or refusal of parole is concerned. Conviction is not a nexus for parole. A Bench of Dipankar Datta CJ, SP Gangapurwala J and Sunil P Deshmukh J, while adjudicating the matter in State of Maharashtra v. Guddu; [CRIMINAL WRIT PETITION NO.1362 OF 2020], dealt with the issue of releasing a convict on parole.

The respondent moved a criminal writ petition in Bombay High Court aggrieved by an order rejecting his application for emergency parole passed by Superintendent of Central Prison. Parole leave to said respondent had been refused by the Superintendent, him having not availed parole or furlough leave on two occasions and that he had not completed three years in jail prior to his application for emergency parole under Rule 19 (1) (C) of the Prisons (Bombay Furlough and Parole) Rules, 1959 (the Parole Rules), introduced into Rule 19 under the Amendment Rules of 2020, in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, finding that in the circumstances, he would not be eligible for release on emergency parole leave. The respondent had instructed to the State that he would file a fresh application for emergency parole under Rule 19 (1) (C) of the Parole Rules, as soon as he completes three years in jail, while he had completed about two years and eight months.

The counsel appearing for the respondent stated that Rights accrued to the prisoners under the Rules, if are to be practically fruitful, inconvenience to the extent of making their realization impossible should in all cases be avoided lest it would do harm to the purpose for which access is being afforded. Conviction may not have any relation to the reasons for parole, yet, it may have to be taken into account that very purpose of rules would be frustrated if matter of said limited liberty made available is pedantically approached. The public prosecutor stated that the liberty of a person under the Constitution, upon his conviction, being under due process of law, is not ordinarily enjoyable to fullest extent. While conviction and imprisonment deprive a person of his liberty otherwise available, furlough and parole leave make available curative facility and generation of kindness, behavioural maturity and values a good life under controlled conditions may be possible. The facility of furlough / parole leave is an indication of humanistic approach towards the prisoners, letting / affording opportunity to solve their personal or family problems and to maintain link with the society.

The Court upon considering the aforesaid facts stated that; “A convict/prisoner is not precluded from approaching the bench having jurisdiction over the district in which trial court has convicted him, if the order of rejection of parole is passed in the area of jurisdiction of forum whereunder conviction has taken place or if a nexus between refusal to grant parole and conviction could reasonably and validly be said to exist. It could always be open in rare and exceptional cases for the Bench before which the proceeding is presented to examine the plea at the threshold and decide whether to receive the proceedings or not.”

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