The Delhi High Court observed that furlough cannot be denied to a convict merely because he committed a gruesome crime many years ago. The Court added that such a stance not only hinders the reformative approach but also diminishes the incentive for maintaining positive behaviour within the confines of the correctional facility.

The Single Judge Bench of Justice Amit Bansal was dealing with a Writ Petition filed by a man convicted of committing rape and murder of a minor under Sections 302/201/363/376(2)(F) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 seeking quashing of the order passed by the Jail authorities rejecting the furlough application.

Advocates Faraz Maqbool and Chinmayi Chatterjee appeared for the Petitioner while the Respondents were represented by Advocate Sanjeev Bhandari.

The petitioner's counsel argued in court that they do not contest the petitioner's conviction for a serious and brutal offence. However, they emphasized that the inherent nature and severity of the offence should not serve as the sole basis for rejecting the petitioner's furlough. On the other hand, the State submitted that taking into account the gruesome crime for which the petitioner has been convicted, he should not be released on furlough. The State also argued that the grant of furlough is not a matter of right and the same can be denied in the the interest of society.

Noting the submissions, the court observed that merely because the convict committed a heinous crime several years ago does not necessarily imply that granting the individual temporary release on furlough would be detrimental to the interests of society. The Court stated, "In my considered view, only on the basis that the convict has committed a gruesome crime many years ago, it cannot be said that his temporary release on furlough would be against the interest of the society. There cannot be any presumption that the said convict will again commit a similar crime or create law and order problem in the society. There is no gainsaying that the furlough is granted to a convict undergoing long term imprisonment and long term imprisonment is awarded only in cases where gruesome crimes have been committed."

The Court further observed, "In fact, depriving furlough to a convict, who is undergoing long term imprisonment, would be counterproductive to the reformative approach and would also take away the motivation to maintain good conduct inside the jail". The Court also noted that upon the perusal of the nominal roll, the conduct of the petitioner in Jail has been satisfactory.

The Court accordingly directed that the petitioner shall be released on furlough for a period of two weeks from the date of his release on furnishing a personal bond in the sum of Rs.10,000.

"Subject to the verification of the address of the petitioner, the petitioner shall be released on furlough for a period of two weeks from the date of his release on furnishing a personal bond in the sum of Rs.10,000/- with two sureties in the like amount to the satisfaction of the concerned Jail Superintendent and further subject to the following conditions: i. The petitioner shall not leave the NCT of Delhi without the prior permission of this Court and shall reside at the given address. ii. The petitioner shall provide his mobile number(s) to the concerned Jail Superintendent and concerned SHO at the time of release, which shall be kept in a working condition at all times. iii. The petitioner shall appear before the SHO, Police Station Maurya Enclave, every third day between 11:00 AM and 11:30 AM to mark his presence. However, he shall not be kept waiting for longer than an hour for this purpose. iv. The petitioner shall positively surrender before the concerned Jail Superintendent on the expiry of the period of two weeks from the date of his release", ordered the Court.

Cause Title: Sanjay Kumar Valmiki V. State Of Nct Of Delhi [W.P.(CRL) 2771/2022]

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