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Who deserves a parole?

In the past three months, 60 convicts in Tihar Jail have been granted parole. The Delhi government granted parole to only 10, including Manu Sharma — a convict in the Jessica Lall murder case, reports Vijaita Singh.

delhi Updated: Nov 11, 2009 23:54 IST
Vijaita Singh

In the past three months, 60 convicts in Tihar Jail have been granted parole. The Delhi government granted parole to only 10, including Manu Sharma — a convict in the Jessica Lall murder case.

The remaining were granted parole by the Delhi High Court, according to jail officials.

Shafiqul Hassan (name changed) who is serving a life sentence for murder has been in jail for the past 16 years.

“He has already served 16 years in prison. He applied for a parole with the Delhi Government in September but did not hear anything from them for about two months,” said Neelam Grover, the convict’s lawyer.

“We then moved the Delhi High Court which granted the parole.” Hassan wanted a parole to undergo heart surgery.

“When we write to government authorities they just don’t reply. If you are very lucky, you can get a response, whether it’s negative or positive,” said another lawyer who requested anonymity.

“Most times, they don’t respond to applications at all. In such cases, we prefer approaching the High Court.”

When Mahesh Singh (name changed) was convicted in a murder case, his son was nine years old.

In November 2006, Singh applied for a parole with the Delhi Government on the grounds that his son, who is 24 years old now, was of marriageable age and he must search a bride for him.

The government rejected the grounds of appeal, forcing Singh to move Delhi High Court.

“All these years, Singh was not able to come out of jail and establish ties with his family,” his lawyer said.

“He needed the parole to finalise a bride for his son.”

Raghav Agarwal (name changed), an HIV positive, was arrested in 2003 in a murder case. Lodged in Tihar Jail for the past six years, Agarwal made a parole request to the government on August 14 to get better treatment. The government, citing “law and order” problem, rejected his application.

The Delhi High Court had only recently pulled up the government on the issue and asked it to avoid unwanted delays in granting parole, stating that such applications should be disposed within a maximum period of two months.

Police had ‘opposed’ Manu Sharma’s plea

The Delhi police had reportedly “strongly opposed” the two- month parole granted to Manu Sharma by the government in September.

“There was no medical certificate attached with the application and we opposed it on the ground that the health of his mother was not such that it needed constant monitoring,” said a senior police officer requesting anonymity.

In September, Sharma had applied for parole from the Delhi government and a police verification report was sought on it.

Police had contended Sharma’s grandmother had died two years ago and had opposed the move for parole.

Government officials, however, said they had the “discretion to grant parole”.

“You can ask any legal expert about which formality was overlooked in granting parole to Manu Sharma... there is no hard and fast reason for granting parole,” GS Pattnaik, Delhi Principal Secretary (Home), told HT on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Pattnaik was not available for comments.

Sharma had sought parole citing three reasons — ill health of mother Shakti Sharma, performing the last rites of his grandmother and looking after his family business.

“On the grounds that he needed to look after his business, we gave a report that his presence was not required in the day-to-day affairs. His business was running well even in his absence,” the police officer said.

Sharma was initially granted parole for one month, which was later extended for another month (till November 22). The parole condition required him to be in Chandigarh. But Sharma was seen partying with an exporter Sahil Dhingra at F Bar in Hotel Ashok on Friday.