Those convicted on serious charges may have to wear tracking devices while on furlough or parole as the state has appointed a high-powered committee to consider the issue. The Bombay high court was informed about the decision on Tuesday after it took suo motu (on its own) cognisance of the alarming number of absconding convicts in the state.
Furlough is constitutionally granted to convicts serving long sentences “to break the monotony of the sentence”, while those jailed for shorter terms can be put on parole if they apply for it.
Additional public prosecutor Ajay Gadkari also told the court that the home department has kept aside the proposed use of the unique identification number (UID) to track such convicts. The public prosecutor also expressed apprehension about making it compulsory for offenders in serious cases to wear tracking devices while on furlough or parole on grounds of practicability and legal permissibility.
The division bench of justices AM Khanwilkar and RG Ketkar was, however, of the opinion that the state should consider the option. “We are not asking you to put a tracking device on every convict going out of jail,” justice Khanwilkar said, adding, “Do it at least in cases of [crimes of] serious nature.”
The home department’s statistics show that 21,300 convicts and undertrials, including 4,378 involved in grave offences, are still absconding despite specific efforts to trace them during the last five years.