Civil rights organisation People's Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), Punjab and Chandigarh chapters, has challenged the Haryana Prisoners Good Conduct Amendment Act, 2012, in the Punjab and Haryana high court on the ground that it prohibits hardcore criminals from being released on temporary parole or furlough.
Taking up a public interest litigation, a division bench, comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Augustine George Masih, while issuing notice of motion to the Haryana government has directed it to file its reply before September 16.
The petitioner's counsel submitted that barring prisoners from being considered for temporary release merely on the basis of an offence committed by them is arbitrary and, hence, unconstitutional. The court was informed that temporary release was essential for the reformation of a person into a law-abiding citizen and for his or her adjustment post-release.
The petitioner relied on a Delhi high court judgment of 2012 in 'Dinesh Kumar versus State of Delhi' case where the court had held unconstitutional similar provisions regarding furlough and temporary release pertaining to Delhi, as they barred prisoners merely on the ground that they had committed certain offences.
As per the newly inserted Section 2(aa) in the Haryana's Act, definition of hardcore prisoners include those who had been convicted of dacoity, robbery, kidnapping, ransom, murder with rape, serial killing, contract killing, murder or attempt to murder for ransom or extortion, causing grievous hurt, death or waging or attempting war against the government of India, buying or selling minor for purposes of prostitution or rape with a woman below 16 years of age. These hardcore criminals have been barred from being released temporarily on parole or furlough.