The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the AAP government whether uniform criteria were being applied while considering grant of parole/furlough and emergency parole to prisoners.
Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva also asked the government about the circumstances under which a person who has jumped parole or furlough in the past has been granted these reliefs subsequently.
It directed the Delhi government to file an affidavit on the aspects highlighted by it before the next date of hearing in two separate pleas in one of which the the petitioner-convict has sought furlough, or in the alternative emergency parole for eight weeks.
He moved the court as his plea for furlough was rejected by the prison authorities. In the other plea, the petitioner has sought emergency parole for eight weeks.
Parole and furlough mean a temporary release from jail of a prisoner. While the duration of parole is not deducted from period of sentence, the time spent on furlough is as it is a reward given for good conduct.
In the second case, the Delhi government said that his plea for emergency parole was rejected by the prison authorities as he had in the past jumped parole and absconded from police custody and was subsequently arrested.
The high court noted that parole and furlough to inmates are progressive measures of correctional services. It further observed that Rule 1212(A) in Delhi Prison Rules was incorporated to provide for the additional benefit of emergency parole.
The rule was incorporated in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic to decongest jails now and in the future when similar situations may arise. The high court said,"Though parole, furlough and emergency parole are granted under different circumstances, however the eligibility criteria for grant of the same have to be uniformly applied to the three.
"It cannot be that a person is eligible for being granted for parole and furlough but becomes disentitled for grant of emergency parole under Rule 1212(A).
The high court also said that several convicts who had jumped parole/furlough in the past have been considered and granted regular parole and furlough subsequently.
"Accordingly, the respondents are directed to file an affidavit indicating as to whether uniform criteria and eligibility conditions are applied for considering grant of parole/furlough and emergency parole or a different criteria or eligibility condition is being applied for consideration for emergency parole.
"If, a person who had jumped the parole/furlough from custody in the past has been considered and granted regular parole and furlough then the respondent shall indicate as to in what circumstances, petitioners were denied parole and furlough," the court said and listed the matter for further hearing on June 4.