The Bombay High Court on Monday held that those prisoners or undertrials who have already been granted emergency parole as per notification dated May 8 for decongestion of prisons in view of the Coronavirus, need not apply for extension of parole once the initial 45 day period is over.
Division bench of Justice TV Nalawade and Justice MG Sewlikar of the Aurangabad bench allowed six separate petitions filed for the relief of direction to continue the parole already granted by the High Court under the said notification of the Government dated May 8, 2020.
The bench observed that previously the High Court has examined and interpreted the said notification, in the case of Dinesh Vs. State and others decided on June 30, 2020. Court said-
"In the notification, it is mentioned that the initial period of parole will be 45 days and it shall stand extended periodically in blocks of 30 days each, till such time that the said notification is in force. This Court has laid down that the meaning of this provision is that there will be automatic extension of the parole period till the notification is in force. Even when such meaning is there and the interpretation is done by this Court, it appears that the respondents are asking the prisoners to give an application for extension every time for getting extension of parole."
Then, the bench referred to certain news items in print media and electronic media wherein it was stated that some officials had asked prisoners to give money either to accept their applications or for consideration of their application. Court noted-
"When there is automatic extension of parole period, there is no need of giving application every time when parole period expires. In view of lock-down which was declared and the object behind the notification, no other interpretation is possible. It appears that there is also some wrong notion that when the Court has granted parole under order, the period mentioned in the order will come to an end and after that period application will be required.
When order is made by the Court under the notification dated 8th May 2020, one needs to go with the presumption that such order is similar to the order made by the Prisoner Authority, Superintendent. Thus, in that case also, no application is required to be made by the prisoners for extension of parole period. So many applications are received of such nature by this Court and that has increased the work of this Court unnecessarily. This Court has already expressed that it is always open to the Government to withdraw the notification and call back the prisoners. That can be done but till the notification is there, the parole period will get extended automatically in view of the aforesaid nature of the Notification. In the result, all these applications are allowed."
Finally, Court declared that the parole period automatically got extended in view of the wordings of the Notification. Court also said that the respondents are to see that no applications for extension of parole period are asked from any prisoner when the prisoners are released by Jail Authority under the notification or due to the order of this Court made under the Notification dated May 8, 2020.
The bench said-
"Unless the Court has specifically declared that beyond that period there will not be extension of the parole period, the authority needs to go with the presumption that there is automatic extension of the parole period."