Hardcore Prisoner Can Only Be Taken Out Under Armed Escort for Attending Marriage of His Relatives: Punjab & Haryana HC

Hardcore Prisoner Can Only Be Taken Out Under Armed Escort for Attending Marriage of His Relatives: Punjab & Haryana HC

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has observed that a hardcore prisoner can only be released under armed escort for attending the marriage of a relative for 48 hours, in accordance with Section 5A of the Haryana Good Conduct Prisoners (Temporary Release) Act, 1988 as amended in 2013.

The petitioner in the instant case was convicted under Sections 201, 302 and 364A, read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 and was sentenced to seven-year rigorous imprisonment under Section 201 and imprisonment for life each under Sections 302 and 364A. Such life imprisonment would be till his last breath i.e. his natural death.

The petitioner had sought parole for two weeks in order to attend the marriage of his sister, which was rejected by the Superintendent of Jail, after seeking legal opinion from the Director-General of Prisons, Haryana, Panchkula. The reason for rejection had been the order of the Court which stated that the convict shall not be released till his natural death. The State had also in its reply, expressed its views against granting such parole as the sentence of the prisoner extended till the rest of natural life.

In the instant case before the High Court, the petitioner had impugned that order.

The counsel for the petitioner relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Krishan Lal v. State of Rajasthan and another 2013AIR (SC) 411. However, the High Court dismissed reference to such case, observing that the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Kishan Lal with regards to this issue, could not be applied in the present case as that decision was based upon an entirely different set of facts and circumstances present in that case.

Justice Kuldip Singh of the Punjab & Haryana High Court observed that being convicted of kidnapping and murder, the petitioner fell under the category of hardcore prisoners under Section 2(aa) (i) of the Act and hence his case would be dealt with special provisions for hardcore prisoners under Section 5A. In view of provisions under Section 5A, the Court held that the prisoner, had the right to be taken to attend the marriage of his sister for 48 hours, but only under armed escort, considering the possibility that he may contemplate absconding, being sentenced to imprisonment till natural death. Section 5A of the Act reads as follows:

Special Provisions for hardcore prisoners.-
Notwithstanding anything contained in sections 3 and 4, a hardcore prisoner shall not be released on temporary basis or on furlough:
Provided that a hardcore prisoner may be allowed to attend the marriage of his child, grandchild or sibling; or death of his grandparent, parent, grandparent in-laws, parents-in-law, sibling, spouse or child, under the armed police escort, for a period of forty-eight hours to be decided by the concerned Superintendent Jail and intimation in this regard with full particulars of hardcore prisoner being released, shall be sent to the concerned District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police within twenty-four hours.

Allowing the prayer of the petitioner in part, the Court, in view of the above held that the petitioner could only be released on parole in the morning hours of the day of marriage, under armed escort and had to be brought back after marriage. The matter was thus disposed off.

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