A Madras High Court Bench of Justice M Sundar and Justice R Sakthivel has granted 40 days ordinary leave to a life convict under the 'Grounds for the grant of ordinary leave' Rules.

In that context, the Court said, "we remind ourselves that a prisoner and his fundamental rights do not part ways at the prison gates and Right to Education is indisputably a fundamental right."

Counsel M Mohamed Saifulla appeared for the petitioner, while Additional Public Prosecutor E Raj Thilak appeared for the respondents.

In this case, a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India was filed with a mandamus prayer regarding the petitioner's representation seeking 40 days of ordinary leave.

The leave was sought on two grounds, namely, (a) to make arrangements for admission of writ petitioner's two children in B.E., and M.E. courses and (b) to repair his homestead. The representation remained unattended, owing to which the petitioner had to approach the Court.

The Court noted that in all the past instances of the petitioner availing leave, nothing untoward had happened as the petitioner returned and surrendered on the leave period elapsing.

Reliance was placed on a catena of judgments, including Vernon Vs. State of Maharashtra and another, to hold that, "Subordinate Legislation is only a codified guideline for the Executive to deal with requests for leave from prisoners and it cannot abridge Constitutional powers which this Court is exercising."

In that context, it was held that a Subordinate Legislation cannot denude nay not even abridge Constitutional powers.

In light of the same, the petitioner was granted 40 days of ordinary leave with an escort. The Court also clarified that the petitioner shall utilize the leave only for the purpose which has been granted i.e., education of his children and repair work of his homestead, and shall not partake in any other activities.

In this context, the Court observed -

"(i) Writ petitioner is granted 40 days ordinary leave with from 21.09.2023 10.30 a.m. to 01.11.2023 5.30 p.m. (ii) Writ petitioner shall surrender before third respondent by dusk on 01.11.2023 Wednesday i.e., by 5.30 p.m.; (iii) The strength of the escort shall be decided by jurisdictional police depending on the ground situation; (iv) Writ petitioner shall utilize the leave only for the purpose which has been granted i.e., education of his children and repair work of his homestead and shall not partake in any other activities; (v) Writ petitioner being granted leave with escort does not mean that writ petitioner will be confined in his house and it shall not be treated as house arrest."

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the Writ Petition.

Cause Title: Selvam v. The Deputy Inspector General Of Prison & Ors.

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