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Dilip Soma Shetye Vs. The Inspector General of Prisons, Panaji and Ors. - (High Court of Bombay) (29 May 2019)

Redemption and rehabilitation of prisoners for good of society must receive due weightage during incarceration



The challenge in present petition is to the orders passed by the Inspector General of Prisons, Panaji-Goa by which an application for furlough came to be rejected. Perusal of the impugned orders indicates that, the main reason for rejection of furlough is that, the Pernem Police Station furnished a report that in case of release of the prisoner on furlough, there is a possibility of he taking advantage and may not surrender before the jail authority. He may not be traceable also.

Though, the Petitioner is a convict undergoing life imprisonment for an offence punishable under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), having completed 18 years 4 months and 23 days of imprisonment, his conduct in jail appears to be satisfactory and had last surrendered from parole on 27th November, 2018. There was no complaint of any kind against the Petitioner as regards breach of any of the terms and conditions during his release on parole or furlough. This is a valid consideration for which no sufficient weightage appears to have been attached.

The Provisions in Rule 315 of the Prisons Rules, 2006 will have to be interpreted keeping in mind the objective for which Prisons Rules make provision for grant of furlough. The expression "relative" has not been defined either under the Prisons Act, 1894 or the Goa Prisons Rules, 2006. The expression, will, therefore, have to take its colour from the context as well as the purposes of the enactment.

In Asfaq Vs. State of Rajasthan and others, the Hon'ble Apex Court has held that, the furlough is a brief release from prison. It is conditional and is given in case of long-term imprisonment. The period of sentence spent on furlough by the prisoners need not be undergone by him as is done in the case of parole. Furlough is granted as a good conduct remission. A convict must remain in jail for the period of sentence or for rest of his life in case he is a life convict. It is in this context that, his release from jail for a short period has to be considered as an opportunity afforded to him not only to solve his personal and family problems but also to maintain his links with society.

Convicts too must breathe fresh air for at least some time provided they maintain good conduct consistently during incarceration and show a tendency to reform themselves and become good citizens. Thus, redemption and rehabilitation of such prisoners for good of societies must receive due weightage while they are undergoing sentence of imprisonment. For parole, specific reason is required, whereas furlough is meant for breaking the monotony of imprisonment. Since furlough is not granted for any particular reason, it can be denied in the interest of the society. Accordingly, impugned orders are set aside. The Respondent no. 1 is directed to release the Petitioner on furlough on usual terms and conditions.

Relevant : Asfaq Vs. State of Rajasthan and others MANU/SC/1182/2017


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