Do not consider parole to Ram Rahim without court’s permission: HC | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Do not consider parole to Ram Rahim without court’s permission: HC

By, Chandigarh
Mar 01, 2024 04:30 AM IST

Ram Rahim, whose jail journey began on August 25, 2017, was granted temporary release from prison for the ninth time on January 19 for 50 days.

The Punjab & Haryana high court on Thursday asked the Haryana government not to consider granting parole to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim without the court’s permission.

Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim.(File)
Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim.(File)

The high court bench of acting chief justice GS Sandhawalia and justice Lapita Banerji criticised the state government for granting frequent paroles to the Ram Rahim, who has been convicted for 20 years of jail in two rapes (2017), life term for conspiring murder of a journalist (2019) and another conviction of life term for criminal conspiracy into murder of a Dera follower (2021). It pointed out that, in spite of the pendency of the petition challenging frequent parole before high court since January 29, 2023, the Haryana government chose to grant him parole in July that year for 30 days, in November for 21 days, and in January 2024 for 50 day.

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“We would like the state of Haryana to furnish an affidavit as to how many persons having such criminal antecedents and sentenced in three cases have been granted this benefit. Let a necessary affidavit be filed before the next date of hearing,” the court directed the Haryana government, while fixing the date of hearing for March 11. “The state authorities shall not consider his case for grant of further parole till further orders without the permission of this court,” the court said, and sought the custody certificate of Ram Rahim when he surrenders on March 10. The Custody certificate contains details of period of custody of a convict or undertrial in a jail.

Also Read | Why is Ram Rahim, chief of Dera Sacha Sauda, out on parole again?

Ram Rahim, whose jail journey began on August 25, 2017, was granted temporary release from prison for the ninth time on January 19 for 50 days. During his parole, Ram Rahim is staying at an ashram in Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh.

He is serving two convictions of 10 years each (to run consecutively) in rape cases of two female disciples at Dera premises in Sirsa in 2002, awarded in 2017. His two life terms awarded in murder cases would start after completion of 20 years of jail in rape cases.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) filed in January 2023 against the frequent paroles granted to Ram Rahim by the Haryana government.

The PIL said his paroles may “jeopardise the sovereignty, integrity of India and for maintaining public harmony, peace, and social fabrics in the country”. The grant of parole to him could have “disastrous consequences”, as he himself claims to be a “Messenger of God” and has added surnames of “Baba”, “Maharaja” etc and is in the “habit of giving poisonous propaganda against the Holy Guru Granth Sahib Ji, which is revered as ‘Living Guru’ by the Sikhs at large, added the PIL.

Also Read | No evidence of distortion, says HC quashing FIR against Ram Rahim

The Punjab government, too, had told the court that the frequent paroles to Ram Rahim may lead to law and order problems in the state.

The Haryana government, on its part, has maintained that Ram Rahim is not a “hardcore prisoner” and his conviction in two different murders cannot be termed “serial killing”.

Hardcore prisoners, as defined in the Haryana Good Conduct Prisoners (Temporary Release) Act, 1988, are subjected to severe restrictions in terms of grant of temporary release and are allowed only 48 to 96 hours of temporary release under an armed police escort for attending marriage or in the event of death of close family members. As per the Act, hardcore prisoners are those who, among several other crimes, are convicted for “serial killing”.

Paroles/ furloughs granted to Ram Rahim:

October 24, 2020: parole for one day

May 21, 2021: parole for one day

February 7, 2022: furlough for 21 days

June 17, 2022: parole for 30 days

October 15, 2022: parole for 40 days

January 21, 2023: parole for 40 days

July 20, 2023: parole for 30 days

November 21, 2023: furlough for 21 days

January 19, 2024: parole for 50 days

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