TITLE: Dhanalakshmi Vs.The Deputy Inspector General of Prisons.
Decided On: September 8, 2023.
W.P.(MD).No.20720 of 2023.
CORAM: Hon’ble Mr. Justice M.S. Ramesh.
The petitioner is the wife of one Senthil murugan, who is a life convict (Life Convict No.16321). On the ground that the convict’s brother died on 03.07.2023 and properties belong to his brother are to be partitioned and that in order to execute a partition deed among the family members, the petitioner seeks for grant of 40 days of ordinary leave for his husband. The petitioner’s request in this regard came to be rejected through the impugned order dated 08.08.2023, predominantly on the ground that it is stated that the convict was involved in an offence under Section 224 IPC while he was on leave in the year 2010 and was also convicted and sentenced. Challenging the said order, the present Writ Petition has been filed.
Legal Analysis and Decision:
The prisoner has already been punished for an offence under Section 224 IPC, refusing to grant leave on this ground may amount to double jeopardy, which is impermissible in law. At this juncture, the learned Additional Public Prosecutor appearing for the respondents brought to our notice about the Circular of the Inspector General of Prisons dated 15.12.2017, which directs the prison authorities not to grant any sort of leave to the prisoners, who were absent on leave previously and are facing/faced cases under Section 224 IPC in the past five years preceding the date of commencement of leave. A bare reading of the Circular would relate only to cases where the prisoner had faced a case under Section 224 IPC in the past five years. Admittedly, the sentence imposed on the prisoner was in the year 2009 and five years have lapsed, the Circular cannot be put against the prisoner. On these grounds, the first reason assigned by the respondents for rejecting the petitioner’s request, cannot be sustained. This apart, it is also brought to our notice that the present impugned order has been passed by the Superintendent of Prison, Central Prison, Trichy. Rule 19 of the Tamil Nadu Suspension of Sentence Rules, 1982, provides that the Deputy Inspector General of Prisons is the competent authority to issue an order of release of prisoners on ordinary leave. The proviso to the said Rule states that when an exemption from any of the conditions in these Rules in favour of a prisoner is necessary, it is the Government, which would be the authority to consider such cases. Thus, Rule 19 does not authorise the Superintendent of Prisons to deal with any application seeking for grant of ordinary leave and therefore, the impugned order is also liable to be set aside on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.
The Court Concluded that the petitioner’s brother would be entitled for grant of ordinary leave for a period of 40 days without escort, with reasonable restrictions like the prisoner should report the Police Station of Perambalur twice a day at 10.00 AM and 6.00 PM, for the entire period of the ordinary leave.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY JANGAM SHASHIDHAR.