The Rajasthan High Court on Thursday upheld the classification of convicts, for the purposes of granting parole, on the basis of the nature and gravity of offences committed by them.
The division bench comprised by Justice Pankaj Bhandari and Justice Narendra Singh observed,
"Special parole can be granted to certain category of prisoners and if benefit is not given to those who have been convicted for offences affecting the State and for grave offences, such rider cannot be said to be unconstitutional."
The observation was made in writ petition seeking to quash Rule 10-B of the Rajasthan Prisoners Release on Parole (Amendment) Rules, 2020. The provision was inserted by the Government to decongest prisons, in view of the impending threat of Covid-19.
As per this Rule, parole may be granted to a category of prisoners in a bid to decongest prison, except those who have been convicted for offences related to acid attack, rape, dacoity, murder, Section 4 or 6 of the POCSO Act, NDPS Act, economic offences, Prevention of Corruption Act, Prevention of Money Laundering Act, Anti national activities, unlawful activities (Prevention Act) or any other offences of similar nature or the cases investigated by any Central Investigating Agency.
The Petitioners had contended that the Rule is ultra vires to the Constitution of India as it is giving special parole to only a certain category of prisoners.
However, the court held that no ground for interference is made out.
It may be noted that pursuant to the recommendations made by the High Power Committee, formed in each state as per directions issued by the Supreme Court in In Re: Contagion Of Covid 19 Virus In Prisons, the trend has been to release prisoners who have been convicted for offences that are punishable with not more than 7 years imprisonment.
Last week, the Bombay High Court also dismissed a petition challenging the classification of prisoners by the High Power Committee, for release on temporary bail and parole.
Case Title: Monu @ Shyam Singh & Ors. v. State Of Rajasthan & Ors.
Case No.: CWP No. 5840/2020
[To Be Updated With Order]