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Apply mind before rejecting convicts’ parole applications: HC

mumbai Updated: Jan 29, 2010 00:44 IST
HT Correspondent

Standard, stereotype reply while rejecting furlough (temporary leave of absence from prison) or parole (conditional leave of absence from jail) applications of convicts will not be tolerated from now on, the Bombay High Court said on Thursday.

Rapping the Mumbai police on the issue, a division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Mridula Bhatkar asked them to file adverse reports based on convicts past records and history.

The court was upset over the standard reply used by the police in their adverse reports — “If let out on furlough or parole, the applicant (convict) is likely to breach the peace and is likely to take revenge or harm the complainant and his or her family.”

Justice Desai observed that the police authorities and the divisional commissioners should apply their minds while passing orders.

“If a prisoner is released on parole or furlough, how can in every case it be breach of peace?” asked Justice Desai.

Govind Pawar, a convict serving life imprisonment in Nashik central prison in a murder case from March, 2006, had approached the high court seeking furlough to visit his ailing wife.

However, the local police sent an adverse report saying he would create a breach of peace after coming out of the prison.
Murtuza Najmi, Pawar’s advocate, objected to the report saying such stereotype reports are passed without application of mind, thereby delaying processing of the application.

The judges observed that they had come across several cases where identical police reports were filed objecting to convict’s furlough.

Additional Public Prosecutor Usha Kejariwal said the police were just being cautious since there have been cases
where convicts absconded after being released on furlough or parole.

While asking the divisional commissioners in the state to consider applications based on individual convict’s history, the high court asked them to process applications based on medical grounds expeditiously.

The court, however, rejected Pawar’s furlough application since his wife did not require a surgery, which was a reason given by Pawar to come out of jail.

Later, the high court granted another murder convict’s furlough application that had been rejected by the divisional commissioner.