In this case, (Sh. Dheeraj Verma vs State of H.P. and ors), the petitioner was serving life imprisonment. He filed a petition to extend his parole/release period. He also claimed the plea on the grounds of continuing his job. Also, he pled that he recover the losses authorised under the scheme to work outside jail. The Court rejected the plea. The reason was that the Petitioner had exhausted his parole limit.
Brief Facts of the Case
The petitioner was convicted of Murder. The charges filed fell under Section 302 of IPC and Section 27 of the Arms Act. The Court charged the Petitioner with life imprisonment. The petitioner has been serving in jail ever since.
The jail allowed the petitioner to work outside the jail under a government scheme. The Petitioner worked for eight years as a goldsmith, in this regard.
Further, the jail allowed him to work on the grounds that he has been serving time for 17 years. Also during that time, the authorities reported his good behaviour and conduct. While working outside, he has claimed to have never taken advantage of his liberty.
When the COVID pandemic transpired, the government granted parole leaves to some inmates. It was to relieve the crowding in the jail. This measure was taken to avoid spread within the jail. The petitioner was also released on a parole leave. He has requested for an extension in parole.
According to the petitioner, during the leave, he was unable to generate any income from his shop. He was not able to pay rent of his shop, due to the lockdown. This resulted in great financial loss and mental stress. Also, as the petitioner’s parole leave is over his shop cannot reopen. Thus, he approached the Court for the grant of an extension.
The petitioner filed the petition before the Court, anticipating rejection from jail authorities.
Arguments Before the Court
The Petitioner stated that the court has been favouring leaves to inmates. This is being done, to reduce the number of inmates, and contain exposure to the virus. The petitioner further mentioned his good demeanour during his time out of jail.
Thus, the Petitioner prayed that the court should accept the plea.
The Court referred to various precedents given by the Supreme Court. The judgments have deliberated on synonymous disputes.
The precedents carried an identical opinion. It held that the decision about altering a plea fell in the jurisdiction of the authorities. These precedents also held that this question was not in the jurisdiction of the court.
But, the judgements also deliberated that the court can intervene in case of certain reasons. First, where the pleader is facing injustice. For instance, where the grounds for rejecting the plea are not satisfactory. Second, where the authorities are not performing their duty. Also, in case of arbitrary use of power, the Court may intervene. Further, the court can quash an illegal order as well.
The court took to observing humanistic grounds. The Court held that suitable convicts should be able to mingle with society, from time to time. This would help them to better integrate themselves in the society, upon release.
According to the Rules for Release, the petitioner was eligible for four weeks of parole. Yet, the jail allowed him six weeks of release which is the upper limit allowed.
Further, the Court read into the rules for parole and temporary release. The Court stated that the petitioner has already exhausted his release period. On the question of the Pandemic, the state has started to get back to normal. No cases were reported in the jail. either.
Thus, the jail was considered to be safe. So, without any sufficient cause, the petitioner should return to complete his term. The Court also held that the Petitioner had not disputed the validity of the parole order.
Based on the aforesaid grounds, the court rejected the plea. The Court directed the petitioner to return to serve his time.
The court proposed that the jail should deal and look into the issue of the Petitioner’s loss.
The court also allowed the petitioner to file a fresh petition to solve his issue. On the same, the Court directed jail authorities to take the decision. The Court also directed authorities to consider humanitarian grounds for the same.
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