There Can Be No Justification For Unwarranted Delay In Disposing Parole Applications Of Convicts: Delhi HC

There Can Be No Justification For Unwarranted Delay In Disposing Parole Applications Of Convicts: Delhi HC

Observing that there can be no justification for unwarranted delay in disposing of the parole applications of the convicts, the Delhi High Court has once again directed the State to ensure that the schedule, as prescribed in the Parole/Furlough Guidelines, 2010, is strictly adhered to and in case of delays, a record of reasons be maintained.

“…There can be no justification for the unwarranted delay in disposing of the applications of the convicts.

“We therefore, dispose of this application with a direction to the respondent that it shall ensure that the schedule, as prescribed in the Parole/Furlough Guidelines, 2010, is strictly adhered to. In case of any delay, the respondent shall maintain a record of the reasons thereof,” ordered a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar.

The bench said so while hearing an application moved by Sanjeev Kumar through advocate Ajay Verma highlighting the delay in deciding of parole application of convicts which many a time defeats the very purpose for which a parole is being sought.

Advocate Ajay Verma brought to court’s notice that the original writ petition on this issue had been disposed of by the court on January 8, 2014, directing the state government to consider the applications of the prisoners pending consideration expeditiously and pass orders within a period of three weeks.

Back then also, the state was directed to adhere to the schedule fixed as per the Parole/Furlough Guidelines, 2010.

However, not much has changed, he submitted.

“This application has been necessitated for the reason that despite the aforesaid orders (of January 8, 2014), the respondent had failed to comply with Rules 16.4, 16.6, 16.8, 16.10 and 20 of the Parole/Furlough Guidelines, 2010 resulting in irreparable loss to the convicts,” noted the bench of ACJ Mittal.

It is to be noted that Section 16 provides that an application of parole has to be made to the jail superintendent who will forward a copy of the same to the police station concerned which will have to submit its report within seven days.

In case verification report is required from the police station of some other state, the rules provide a time of 10 days for the same. If no report is received by the Superintendent of Jail within the periods aforementioned, it shall be presumed that the police authorities concerned have no objection to parole being granted.

Rue 16.11 provides that the application, would then have to be immediately forwarded to the Deputy Secretary Home (General), Govt. of NCT of Delhi with a forwarding note to the effect that since no report had been received from the concerned police authorities, it is presumed that they had no objections to the grant of parole, and the application be disposed on merits.

Pursuant to notice issued by the high court, the Delhi government filed a status report disclosing status of the applications which were filed and the manner in which they have been examined and orders passed thereon.

“A perusal thereof would show that though quite a few applications are being decided in accordance with the schedule stipulated in the guidelines, however, there are several applications which have not been processed during the stipulated time,” noted the bench.

When the government made an attempt to explain the difficulty by way of which this delay has occasioned, the bench said there can be justification for the delay.

Back in 2014 also, the state had contended that because of practical problems and various agencies involved, it was unable to adhere to the time limit to dispose of the applications but the court was not inclined to agree with the contention.

“Once the guidelines are framed in consultation with the State Government, they have to be implemented. If there is any problem on the part of State to implement the guidelines, they are at liberty to bring this to the notice of this court under whose directions the Guidelines were framed. As of today, no such application is filed by the State Government seeking more time than provided in the Guidelines for disposing of the applications,” the court had noted in its January 8, 2014, order.