Stressing that the High-Powered Committee is to frame the necessary policy for release of the prisoners on parole due to Covid-19 pandemic in terms of the directions issued by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, the Rajasthan High Court recently dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) Petition seeking extension of Parole benefit to Murder Convicts.
The Bench of Justice Sabina and Justice Manoj Kumar Vyas was hearing the petitioner who submitted that in another State, the benefit of parole has been granted to convicts convicted under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.
It was further argued that in view of the prevailing Covid-19 situation the same benefit has not been extended in the State of Rajasthan and the counsel for the petitioner placed reliance on the Minutes of High-Powered Committee constituted by the State of Punjab.
The Court observed:
"We have gone through the Minutes of High-Powered Committee constituted by State of Punjab placed on record. A perusal of the same reveals that so far as convicts convicted under Section 302 IPC are concerned, they have not been included in the category for grant of parole."
Further, the Court noted that the High-Powered Committee had been constituted under the Chairmanship of Executive Chairman, Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority in view of the order dated May 7, 2021 passed by the Supreme Court in Suo Moto Petition (Civil) No.1/20-Re: Contagion of COVID-19.
"The High-Powered Committee is to frame the necessary policy for release of the prisoners on parole due to Covid-19 pandemic in terms of the directions issued by the Hon'ble Supreme Court," added the Court.
Therefore, noting that no ground for interference is made out, the Court dismissed the plea.
It may be noted that in accordance with the Supreme Court of India's Order dated May 7, 2021, the High-Powered Committee for many states have granted parole to the inmates who were granted parole earlier.
It is important to note that the Supreme Court on May 7 directed the High Powered Committee of the States to forthwith release all the inmates who had been released earlier pursuant to the Supreme Court's order dated 23rd March 2020, by imposing appropriate conditions (in addition to considering fresh release).
Case title - Monu v. State Of Rajasthan