Period Of Parole To Be Excluded From Period Of Sentence While Considering Premature Release: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has upheld the decision of the Bombay High Court holding that the period of parole granted to a prisoner, had to be excluded from the period of sentence while considering the premature release of the prisoner.
The Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice CT Ravikumar held that if the period of parole was included in the sentence, then influential persons would get the parole number of times, defeating the object of imprisonment and therefore, the period should be excluded.
The Bench observed “If the submission on behalf of the prisoners that the period of parole is to be included while considering 14 years of actual imprisonment is accepted, in that case, any prisoner who may be influential may get the parole for number of times as there is no restrictions and it can be granted number of times and if the submission on behalf of the prisoners is accepted, it may defeat the very object and purpose of actual imprisonment.”
In this case, the Special Leave Petition was preferred against the dismissal of writ petitions by the High Court wherein the writ petitions were filed challenging the State’s decision of not considering the case of petitioners for premature release.
The petitioners had applied for premature release under the provisions of Goa Prisons Rules, 2006 (the Rules, 2006) and the State Sentence Revenue Board recommended for their premature release. Against the recommendation of the Board, the convicting Court opined that they should not be released prematurely considering the gravity of offence.
Senior Advocate Siddharth Dave appeared for the petitioners.
He submitted that as per Section 55 of the Prisons Act, 1894, (the Act) the accused/convicts could be said to be in custody even when they were on parole and therefore, the period of parole was to be included while considering 14 years of actual imprisonment for the purpose of premature release.
The Apex Court observed that the High Court while considering 14 years of actual imprisonment had heavily relied upon Rule 335 of the Rules, 2006 which provided that the period of release on Furlough and Parole should be counted as remission of sentence and further said that “Once the period of parole is to be counted as remission of sentence, as rightly observed and held by the High Court, the period of parole is also required to be excluded from the period of sentence while considering 14 years of actual imprisonment.”
The Apex Court further observed that the submission made by the petitioners that the prisoner on parole was deemed to be in custody had no substance.
“Section 55 of the Prisons Act, 1894 shall be applicable in a case where a prisoner is taken out from any prison, he shall deem to have been in prison. However, the same shall not be applicable with respect to release on parole.”
Accordingly, the Special Leave Petition was dismissed.
Cause Title- Rohan Dhungat Etc. v. State of Goa & Ors Etc.