Concern grows as convicts, undertrials use parole to escape the long arm of law | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Concern grows as convicts, undertrials use parole to escape the long arm of law

In what seems to be a growing trend with serious implications to public safety, thousands of convicts and undertrials — some of them convicted for grave offences — are roaming freely after giving authorities the slip while on parole or furlough.

mumbai Updated: Jun 03, 2012 01:17 IST
Mohan K Korappath

In what seems to be a growing trend with serious implications to public safety, thousands of convicts and undertrials — some of them convicted for grave offences — are roaming freely after giving authorities the slip while on parole or furlough.

Figures presented by the state to the court indicate that in the last five to six years, 21,300 convicts and undertrials, including 4,378 involved in grave offences, have absconded from across the state. Of these, 13,000 were from Mumbai. Such laxity can lead to disastrous consequences, as in the case of the Arun Tikku murder. Vijay Palande, who has been accused of murdering the Delhi businessman, had been convicted previously for murder. He was sentenced to time in prison, but was granted parole.

The Bombay high court has termed the trend "alarming and disturbing". Through a series of orders, the Bombay high court has repeatedly urged the government, the police and jail authorities to frame a comprehensive policy to instil respect for law in the minds of the public.

A division bench of justice Naresh Patil and justice TV Nalawade recently observed that "majority of such prisoners are convicted and sentenced for serious offences and undergoing life sentence."

"In spite of full-fledged trial, after pronouncement of order of conviction and sentence, if the prisoners are allowed to jump the conditions of leave and abscond, then it would frustrate the sincere efforts made by the law enforcing agencies and the courts. It is a disturbing trend, undermining the faith in the system," the bench had said.

In March this year the DIG (Prisons), in Aurangabad region told the Aurangabad bench that as many as 236 prisoners who were granted either parole leave or furlough leave have not surrendered to jail authorities.

Expressing alarm at this "disturbing trend", the bench said that even though the authorities can resort to provisions of section 82 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, experience had shown that more stringent provisions were required to curb the tendency to overstay the leave period deliberately and intentionally.

The court then directed the principal secretary, home department, director general of police, the inspector general (prisons), all deputy inspector generals (prisons), to discuss the issue and take urgent steps to tackle this problem.