When it comes to Sanjay Dutt, there are no rules

Written by: Vicky Nanjappa

Pune, Dec 26: When it comes to Sanjay Dutt there are no rules and even orders of the Supreme Court do not matter. As the Maharashtra government institutes a panel to probe the furlough granted to Dutt. It can be mentioned here that Dutt got parole several times in the past.

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Parole it appears is given time and again only to the influential even if it means celebrating the Christmas holidays. While in the entire country only 228 applications for parole have been considered and granted only once in the case of Maharashtra there are 150 pending applications and only 8 have been granted this benefit. Now in the case of Dutt who is serving a sentence this courtesy appears to have been extended thrice in less than one and half years.

The question now is how did Dutt manage to come out on parole so many times when the Supreme Court in the Dharmvir vs State of Uttar Pradesh case clearly stated that a prisoner shall be allowed to come out on parole only once a year for two weeks.

The parole rules:

The first thumb rule of a parole is that it shall be for a short duration. The jail manual lists the following conditions while granting parole.

• Complete and incurable blindness.

 Advanced pulmonary tuberculosis, which incapacitates the prisoner from committing further crimes of the nature for which he or she was sentenced.

• If he/she is dangerously ill, and is likely to have a better recovery outside prison.

• If he/she has become mentally unstable and requires treatment in an asylum.

• To perform funeral rites.
To visit a sick or dying member of the family.

• To attend important functions, such as marriage of son, daughter, brother or sister.

• To construct a house or repair a badly damaged house.

Why parole:

• To save the inmates from the evil effects of continuous prison life;

• To enable the inmate to maintain continuity with his family life and deal with family matters

• To enable the inmate to retain self-confidence and active interest in life.

The statistics:

• In India there are 4149 applications seeking parole. 230 applications have been considered so far. The rest of the applications are either rejected or pending before the authorities.

• In Maharashtra there are 164 applications filed for parole. Out of this there are around 30 of them which have been filed by prisoners who are above the age of 60 and are women. However out of the 164 just 9 have been considered till date. These are statistics for the past four years.

Crimes by persons out on parole:

The Supreme Court has time and again said that parole shall be granted on humanitarian grounds and those being granted this shall be scrutinized.

However the crimes committed by those out on parole since 2005 is 198. This means that 198 murders have been committed by persons who are out on parole. This is a very telling statistic which only goes on to suggest that this benefit shall be given only after taking due care.

Take the case of Manu Sharma who was out on parole. He was convicted in the Jessica Lal murder case and was granted parole after some time. He was involved in a bar brawl. As per the rules since he violated the norms this would not entitle him for parole till the end of his sentence.

Judgments on parole:

• In the Dharmvir vs State of Uttar Pradesh case, the Supreme Court had held that a prisoner shall be allowed parole for two weeks once a year. The jail manual however states the period shall be up to two months once a year, but with this Supreme Court verdict what is mentioned in the manual can be overridden.

• In the Babulal Das vs State of West Bengal the supreme court stated that it is fair that persons kept incarcerated and embittered without trial should be given some chance to reform themselves by reasonable recourse to parole power under Section 15 of the Maintenance of Internal Security Act, 1971.

• In the Suresh Chandra vs State of Gujarat the supreme court recommended liberal use of parole as a viable alternative for reducing overcrowding in prisons.

• In the Kesar Singh Vs State of Himachal Pradesh the court said for exercising the power, function and duty to temporarily release the prisoners on parole, the paramount consideration which the releasing authority shall bear in mind is that the right to be released is not defeated merely because the prisoner on account of his impecunious condition is unable to offer a security bond or surety bond. The discretion to waive the requirement of furnishing bond should be exercised in cases of poor prisoners bearing in mind other relevant considerations of family-ties, roots in community and social conditions.

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