21 Feb 2023 11:37 AM GMT
The Supreme Court will hear an application by a convict seeking the consideration of parole granted during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of their actual sentence period on March 17.The application came up while the Court was hearing a batch of matters pertaining to the release of prisoners due to the overcrowding in prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court had passed a slew of...
The Supreme Court will hear an application by a convict seeking the consideration of parole granted during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of their actual sentence period on March 17.
The application came up while the Court was hearing a batch of matters pertaining to the release of prisoners due to the overcrowding in prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court had passed a slew of directions in 2021.
At the outset, a Bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar asked the advocate for the applicant,
“How does our order in the COVID-19 matter come in way of that (applicant’s prayer)?”
The counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted that the COVID-19 parole period should be included as part of the sentence since he hadn’t requested for it.
“This was not regular parole. It was involuntary, I did not ask for it. There was huge overcrowding in the prisons. (If not for the parole), it would have added to the number of deaths in prisons during COVID”.
“But you were out of jail, right? Then where’s the question…Parole period cannot be counted, we have already said that”, the Bench verbally reiterated the existing position of law.
In January, the Supreme Court held that the Parole period has to be excluded from the period of sentence under the Goa Prison Rules, 2006 while considering 14 years of imprisonment for premature release.
The Advocate clarified that this was not regular parole. That does not make much of a difference, the Bench said.
The Bench then illustrated by means of an example.
“If you are on covid parole for 2 years and the sentence is for 10 years. So, you will undergo a sentence only 8 years?”, the Court asked, to which the advocate replied that he had already undergone 14 years of actual imprisonment and that the insistence was based on a matter of principle.
“That's not the issue here. We will consider the question of principle later, not in this case”, the Bench said.
The advocate appearing for the State informed that the there was a statutory bar on the applicant’s prayer.
“We will consider it”, the Bench said while adjourning the matter.
In 2021, the Court had resolved to consider the question of whether the Covid Leave period of parole of a convict can be considered for calculating their period of actual sentence or not.
Case Title: In Re: Contagion of Covid-19 Virus in Prisons SMW(C) No. 1/2020 PIL | Anil Kumar vs State of Haryana | Diary No. 32275/2021
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