Alarmed by the large number of parole jumpers in the state, the Bombay high court told the state government on Monday to consider putting tracking devices on convicts released on furlough or parole leave.
A division bench of justices AM Khanwilkar and RG Ketkar was hearing a suo motu proceeding on absconding convicts and undertrial prisoners across Maharashtra. The judges also referred to the recent controversial episode in the US when several Indian students were made to wear devices on their ankles to keep track of their movements.
Additional public prosecutor Ajay Gadkari expressed apprehension about the suggestion’s practicability citing a verdict of the Supreme Court which says tracking devices should be used only in grave cases, but the judges brushed it aside by saying that keeping track of convicts while on bail, furlough or parole leave is essential in order to ensure they return to the prison to serve their terms.
The court has also asked the state government to consider the use of Unique Identification Number (UID) to track absconding convicts and undertrial prisoners through their bank transactions.
According to statistics furnished by Gadkari on Monday, 21,300 convicts and undertrial prisoners, including 4,378 involved in serious offences like murder, rape, armed robbery etc., are absconding despite dedicated efforts to trace them since last five years. The judges asked the prosecutor to submit a report of compliance of directives issued on Monday within a month, and posted the matter for further hearing on December 13.