The Bombay High Court recently sought explanation from the state government regarding amendment to Parole rules based on a circular issued by them which stated that parole period was to be included in the sentence.
The bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice RG Ketkar was hearing a criminal PIL filed by one Rajan Parkar, who claimed that the said circular was invalid in view of Rule 20 of the Maharashtra Prisons (Furlough and Parole) (amendment) Rules 2016.
The petitioner also alleged that the new circular, including parole in the sentence period, was issued in order to favour certain prisoners, pointing at Sanjay Dutt, who was released 8 months and 16 days before the completion of his actual sentence.
The state defended its decision to release Dutt and stated in an affidavit that Dutt had earned 256 days of remission on account of good behaviour, discipline and participation in institutional activities.
NN Gawankar, who appeared for the petitioner, submitted that based on an order by a single judge of the high court bench in Nagpur in 2001, the state issued a circular in 2006 holding that parole period should be included in the computation of total sentence.
The same petitioner had challenged this circular in 2015.
Gawankar argued that since the challenge to the circular itself was yet to be decided, the government could not have amended the Rules and submitted that the beneficiaries of this Rule should come back and complete their sentence.
Thus, the bench questioned the state and sought an explanation on the same.
The next date of hearing is November 28.