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Take his word for it

What stops Manu Sharma from having a good time? After all, he's promised that he'll be a good boy.

india Updated: Nov 18, 2011 00:28 IST

Paroles can be funny. Their root lie in the medieval chivalric practice in Europe of prisoners being released based on their giving their word of honour to abide by certain restrictions.

Manu Sharma, the killer of Jessica Lall, isn’t the sort of chap you associate with the words ‘chivalry’ or ‘honour’. Serving a life sentence in Tihar Jail, Sharma’s claim to fame as a free man was that he shot dead a woman because she refused to serve him a drink. Once in jail, he again hit the spotlight when he was released on parole in 2009 to be with his sick mother and attend a family ceremony. That time, he partied hard and got into a brawl in a nightclub even as his mum was spotted at a function. There’s nothing illegal about partying on parole, but it’s odd to get into a fight. Which is why his parole was cancelled then.

But he’s out on another parole. This time, the court has got wise (lest we be slapped with a charge of contempt of court, let it be said that the court was always wise and got wiser now) and has confined his movements in Chandigarh, Karnal and Ambala to attend marriage functions in his family. And there’s an important caveat: “...he shall not visit any nightclub or discotheque”. The Delhi High Court’s parole order has shown great faith in Sharma’s ability to resist the temptations of partying and brawling. But justice is blind, as it should be, and unlike a lot of us who find it mighty strange for someone like Sharma to get paroles rather easily, the fact is that, objectively speaking, there isn’t really anything that stops someone on parole from having a good time.

Not too many people can manage to swing a deal like that. And there will be many folks languishing in the clink who would like to step out and have a good time and then return behind bars. Paroles for prisoners without a history of busted paroles because of bar fights should even allow them some happy hours and leg-shaking in clubs. After all, if Sharma has promised that he’ll be a good boy, we, like the court, should take his word for it. Just beca-use he’s a killer doesn’t mean he’s going to get into a fight. Again.