Chandigarh, May 16, 2022: While considering an order passed by the District Magistrate, Ayodhya (UP) against the petitioner’s plea for his release on parole on the ground that the petitioner was likely to endanger the security of the State Government or maintenance of public order, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held such order was not supported by any material on record and was merely based upon “assumption, conjectures and surmises”.
In this case, based on the above recommendations, the Inspector General of Prisons, U.T. Chandigarh by its order (impugned order) had rejected the petitioner’s application.
The Bench of Justices Augustine George Masih and Sandeep Moudgil held, while setting aside the impugned order, “…is set aside specially when there is, as per their admitted position, no other case pending against the petitioner and, therefore, conclusion as has been drawn by the District Magistrate being based upon mere assumption, conjectures and surmises and the same cannot be accepted.”
The Bench was dealing with a writ petition by a convict assailing the order of the for parole based on recommendation given to this effect, by District Magistrate, Ayodhya (UP). The Court was called upon to adjudicate upon a Writ Petition challenging the order passed by the Inspector General of Prisons, U.T. Chandigarh (Competent Authority) under the Punjab Good Conduct Prisoners (Temporary Release) Act 1962 (‘the Act’), whereby an application for parole preferred by the petitioner to meet his family members was rejected.
As per the case advanced by the petitioner’s counsel, the impugned order (rejecting the petitioner’s application for grant of parole) was based on the report of the District Magistrate, Ayodhya (U.P.), who did not recommend the release of the petitioner.
The Cousnel submitted that the reason assigned for the said non-recommendation was that the State Government or any officer authorised was satisfied that the release of the petitioner was likely to endanger the security of the State Government or maintenance of public order and that there was a possibility of the petitioner indulging in heinous crime, on being released on parole.
The Counsel asserted that on the earlier occasion also, the prayer of the petitioner for
release on parole to meet his family members was rejected without there being any regular response received by the authority. He thus submitted that apart from the present case, there was no other case against the petitioner, therefore, the conclusion as was drawn by the authorities i.e. District Magistrate, Ayodhya (U.P.), was without any material on record and based upon assumptions and presumptions.
He, thus, contended that the ground for rejection of the prayer of the petitioner for grant of parole was not sustainable and thus deserved to be set aside.
On the other hand, the counsel for the U.T. Chandigarh, submitted that as per the procedure prescribed under the Act, the competent authority referred the matter to the District Magistrate, Ayodhya (U.P.) for his consideration and recommendation which unfortunately came against the petitioner and therefore, the competent authority proceeded to pass the impugned order of rejection of parole.
The Counsel however could not dispute the factual aspect with regard to the assertion of the counsel for the petitioner that the petitioner was involved only in this one case and none other.
After having considered the submissions made by counsels for the parties and keeping in view the fact that the recommendation for rejection of the claim of the petitioner based on the report of the District Magistrate, Ayodhya (U.P.) was found by the Court to be unsustainable as the Court was of the view that there was no material on record, and thus the impugned order was set aside specially when there was no other case pending against the petitioner.
Therefore, the conclusion as was drawn by the District Magistrate being based upon mere “assumption, conjectures and surmises” was held by the Court to be unacceptable.
The present writ petition was thus allowed and the impugned order was quashed. The petitioner was ordered to be released on parole to the satisfaction of the competent authority for a period of four weeks to meet his family members from the date of his release, as per the provisions of law.