The Gujarat High Court has denied furlough leave to Narayan Sai, son of Asaram Bapu on the ground that it would be dangerous to society to release him merely out of considerations of penal reform and humane treatment.

A Single Bench of Justice Nisha M. Thakore held, “At this stage, the Court would like to remind the principles laid down by this Court as well as by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in various decisions. The Court has specifically observed that while meting out humane treatment to the convicts, care is taken to ensure that kindness to the convicts does not result in cruelty to the society. If one who has been found guilty of such an offence is released on furlough, there is no guarantee that he will not indulge in similar activity as soon as he is enlarged. None of the twin objects of punishment of imprisonment would then be served. Neither would he be reformed nor would the society remain immunized from his criminal activity. It would be dangerous to the society to release him on furlough merely out of considerations of penal reform and humane treatment.”

The Bench after having noticed the contemptuous conduct of the convict said that no error can be found with the order of the State Authority refusing the furlough leave to him.

Advocates Zubin Bharda and Rajendra D. Jadhav appeared for the convict/petitioner while APPs R.C. Kodekar and M.H. Bhatt appeared for the State/respondent.

Facts -

A petition was filed at the instance of the petitioner/convict invoking extraordinary writ jurisdiction of the court under Article 226 read with Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India, challenging the order passed by the State authority on an application of the petitioner, seeking furlough. The petitioner was arrested in 2023 in connection with the offences under Sections 376(2)(C), 377, 354, 344, 357, 342, 323, 504, 506(2), 508, 120(B), 212, 153 and 114 of the Indian Penal Code.

At the end of the trial, the Sessions Judge convicted the petitioner and sentenced him to suffer rigorous imprisonment for life. The petitioner had approached the High Court by challenging such an order of conviction by filing the appeal which was admitted and pending for final adjudication. The petitioner had undergone a sentence of almost 9 years and 4 months and was released on four occasions.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of the counsel noted, “In light of the broad principles laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, this Court is of the opinion that there cannot be iota of doubt that the authorities are supposed to address the question as to whether the convict is such a person, who has the tendency to reform himself to become a good citizen or his presence in the society is likely to deter the law and order situation or create public tranquility.”

The Court took note of some of the incidents such as threatening by SADHAKS at the instance of the petitioner to kill the investigating officer in 2013, assault of the complainant and her husband with a lethal weapon in 2014, etc.

“At one stage, such allegation was that the petitioner had threatened the husband of the complainant and other witnesses, if he was released on furlough leave. … The respondent authority has referred to almost three other incidents where three different FIRs have been registered against the petitioner involving the persons connected with the petitioner. Most of the allegations made relate to physical assault. It has come on record that the witnesses have been threatened during trial. Several aggravating incidents have been noticed by this Court as duly reported by the authority in their report”, said the Court.

The Court observed that such incidents are spread in the span over the year 2014 onward till the year 2019 and that even inside the jail, he has continuously displayed a lack of discipline.

“… in fact one of the incident which is reported in his jail conduct indicates that he had led and instigated the jail inmates to protest inside the jail to fulfill their demand, which, prima-facie, goes to show the tendency of the petitioner to get evolve in coercive tactics against the jail authority. Such incidence did not deter the petitioner to continue with such activity. … The height of dis-respect towards the legal process has come on record in the form of the order passed by the Hon'ble Division Bench of this Court”, further observed the Court.

The Court also said that the petitioner had placed a fake medical certificate on the record of the court and that it cannot ignore the fact that in spite of passing an order of rejection of furlough leave by the Apex Court, he had displayed such conduct of producing a fake medical certificate.

Accordingly, the Court refused furlough leave to the petitioner.

Cause Title- Narayan @ Narayan Sai @ Mota Bhagwan v. State of Gujarat

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