Supreme Court of India Today has held that a Judge cannot assume the power on the basis of his individual perception or notion. The Division Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh has further held that
“It is well settled in law that a Judge is expected to act in consonance and accord with the legal principles. He cannot assume the power on the basis of his individual perception or notion. He may consider himself as a candle of hope but application of the said principle in all circumstances is not correct because it may have the effect potentiality to affect the society. While using the power he has to bear in mind that “discipline” and “restriction” are the two basic golden virtues within which a Judge functions. He may be one who would like to sing the song of liberty and glorify the same abandoning passivity, but his solemn pledge has to remain embedded to constitution and the laws. There can be deviation”
The Bench was hearing an Appeal by State of Gujarat against an order by the High Court of Punjab and whereby the High had opined that the order dated 26.07.2011 passed by the Government of Gujarat declining to grant the benefit of premature release to Lal Singh @ Manjit Singh is illegal and further directed the State Government to reconsider his case and take a fresh decision in the light of the discussions made in the impugned order and further to release him on parole for a period of three months on furnishing personal bond/security bond for a sum of Rs. 50,000/- to the satisfaction of the concerned Jail Superintendent.
Lal Singh @ Manjit was convicted for the offences punishable under Section 3(3) and other Sections of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 and sentenced to suffer life imprisonment. The Supreme Court in Lal Singh v. State of Gujarat and another confirmed the conviction and the sentence as imposed by the Designated Court. During the pendency of the criminal appeal he sought transfer from the Central Prison, Ahmedabad to the Central Prison, Jalandhar on the ground that his family is based in Punjab and it was allowed by the Government. In the impugned order the High Court has asked the Government to re-consider his application for premature release directed Gujarat government to release on parole for three months.
Allowing the Appeal, the Supreme Court has held as follows:
"The most important thing is that the High Court has referred to, as has been indicated earlier, many aspects of human rights and individual liberty and, if we allow ourselves to say so, the whole discussion is in the realm of abstractions. The Court has not found that the order passed by the State of Gujarat was bereft of appropriate consideration of necessary facts or there has been violation of principles of equality. The High Court has not noticed that the order is bereft of reason. It has been clearly stated in the impugned order that the convict was involved in disruptive activities, criminal conspiracy, smuggling of arms, ammunitions and explosives and further he had also been involved in various activities. It has also been mentioned that the prisoner under disguise of common name used to purchase vehicles for transportation and his conduct showed that he had wide spread network to cause harm and create disturbance to National Security. Because of the aforesaid reasons remission was declined. In such a fact situation, the view expressed by the High Court to consider the case on the basis of the observations made by it in the judgment is not correct".
Regarding the grant of Parole the Bench held as follows:
“The constitutional court before directing the temporary release where the request is made to be released on parole for a specified reason and for a specified period should form an opinion that request has been unjustifiably refused or where the interest of justice warranted for issue of such order of temporary release. The Court further ruled that jurisdiction has to be sparingly exercised by the Court and even when it is exercised, it is appropriate that the Court should leave it to the administrative or jail authorities to prescribe the conditions and terms on which parole is to be availed of by the detenue.”
However liberty is granted by the Supreme Court to the Prisoner to submit a representation/application before the competent authority of the Union of India within a period of eight weeks and the authority shall consider the same as expeditiously as possible in accordance with law and the guidelines framed for premature release.
Read the Judgment here.