Bribery in jails in Marathwada, north Maharashtra: HC orders magisterial enquiries
The court was hearing separate petitions filed by two convicts lodged at Harsul Prison at Aurangabad, complaining about rejection of their applications for emergency parole by jail authorities on flimsy groundsUpdated: Sep 30, 2020, 11:16 IST
Taking note of frequent allegations of bribe demands by jail authorities against release of prisoners on emergency Covid-19 parole, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court has ordered judicial magistrates to visit all jails across Marathwada and north Maharashtra to enquire with prisoners about the same and submit their report to the bench.
The bench of justices TV Nalawade and MG Sewlikar, on Monday, also directed the magistrates to ask prisoners if they were told of their right to get emergency parole vide a notification issued on May 8, 2020, by Maharashtra home department for releasing undertrial prisoners on a temporary bail and grant of emergency parole leave to convicts, with a view to decongest prisons to check the spread of coronavirus in jails.
The magistrates have been directed to ascertain if the jail authorities had refused to accept applications for parole and directly or indirectly refused parole leave to eligible prisoners for failing to grease palms of the jail officers concerned.
They have also been asked to check if some life convicts were released only on personal bonds and others were, as alleged by some prisoners before the high court, asked to fulfil the condition of providing sureties.
The court instructed the magistrates to assure the prisoners that their names would be kept secret, if they so wished, and also to collect written complaints if any prisoner was willing to do so openly.
The magistrates have to submit their reports within three weeks.
The court was hearing separate petitions filed by two convicts lodged at Harsul Prison at Aurangabad, complaining about rejection of their applications for emergency parole by jail authorities on flimsy grounds.
The bench was irked to note that despite several orders interpreting the May 8 notification and number of clarifications issued by the high court, jail officials were rejecting parole applications on the same grounds that have been held by the bench as untenable. It has now converted the petitions into public interest litigations and posted the same for further hearing on October 27.