The Punjab and Haryana high court has sounded a word of caution to the Punjab and Haryana governments on the parole rights of convicts.
The single judge bench of justice M Jeyapaul has told the governments that a convict seeking parole on the grounds that he had to perform the last rites of a family member could not be rejected casually by the authorities.
The high court order came on the petition of one Jagraj Mohammad, a convict in two cases of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) in Punjab and Haryana and lodged in the Ambala jail.
Immediately after the demise of Jagraj's father, his family had approached the jail authorities and later the court for the grant of parole. But the jail authorities did not act on the representation. Later, when the matter reached the high court, both Punjab and Haryana had opposed the parole saying he was convicted in the NDPS case and was also facing a trial for a jail offence (for possessing a mobile phone).
The high court recorded that the representation made by his wife addressed to the court was also received by the jail authorities. The court was told that upon inquiries by the authorities, it was found that such a ceremony was proposed in the family. The high court took note of the fact that the petitioner whenever granted parole in the past had not misused it.
"It is a case where the petitioner has sought parole on the grounds that he being an only son has to perform the last rites. Such a plea cannot be casually rejected," the high court said in its order while granting the petitioner a week's parole to attend the ceremonies related to the last rites of his father.