Read Order: Surjit v. State of Punjab and another

Tulip Kanth

Chandigarh, September 17, 2021: While dismissing a criminal writ petition pertaining to the Punjab Good Conduct Prisoners (Temporary Release) Act, 1962, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has opined that while considering the request of the petitioner for grant of parole, discretion has been bestowed upon the concerned Officer/State Government. It is also indicated that the release on parole of a convict cannot be claimed as a matter of right as the legislature has used the word ‘may’ not ‘shall’.

This writ petition was filed under Article 226/227 of the Constitution of India for issuance of directions to the respondents for grant of parole to the petitioner for a period of four weeks on the grounds of carrying out the eye operation of his wife and for repair of the house.

The petitioner’s counsel had submitted that the petitioner applied for grant of parole before the concerned jail authorities on the ground of illness of his wife and for the repair of house as there was no other person to look after his family members. It was argued that the Superintendent of Police, Sangrur had wrongly not recommended the case of the petitioner for grant of parole merely on the ground that the petitioner could jump the parole.

On the other hand, the State counsel strongly opposed the prayer made by the counsel for the petitioner and prayed for dismissal of instant petition.

Referring to the Punjab Good Conduct Prisoners (Temporary Release) Act, 1962,the Division Bench of Justice Jaswant Singh and Justice Sant Prakash stated that in terms of Section 3(2)(b) where the prisoner is to be released on the ground specified in clause (b) or clause (d) of sub-section (1) the period for which a prisoner may be released shall be determined by the State Government so as not to exceed four weeks. Section 6 of the Act provides that consultation with District Magistrate is not necessary where prisoners are not to be released.

“…it is crystal clear that while considering the request of the petitioner for grant of parole, discretion has been bestowed upon the concerned Officer/State Government. It clearly indicates that the release on parole of a convict cannot be claimed as a matter of right as the legislature has used the word ‘may’ not ‘shall’”, noted the Division Bench.

The Court observed that the petitioner has been undergoing life imprisonment for having committed offences punishable under Sections 302/34, 323/34 and 325 IPC. It was revealed that his two sons have also been undergoing imprisonment in the said case.

With this backdrop, the case of the petitioner had not been recommended by the Superintendent of Police, Sangrur while apprehending danger to the life of the complainant upon releasing the petitioner on parole.

As per the Bench, the petitioner has committed a heinous crime and if such type of convict is enlarged on parole, there is every possibility that he can misuse the concession of parole.Moreover, there is no specific record regarding medical condition of the petitioner’s wife requiring the presence of the petitioner.

The Court was also of the opinion that it was the subjective satisfaction of the authority concerned to evaluate the circumstances seeking parole. Unless and until some arbitrariness or malafide is apparent in the order of the said authority, only then, this Court should intervene under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, added the Bench.

Hence, without interfering in the matter as the same had been considered after taking into consideration all the facts collected for considering the request of the petitioner for releasing him on parole, the present criminal writ petition was dismissed.

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