Madras HC grants parole to Coimbatore Blast case lifer

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Madras High Court on Wednesday, 14th March granted the parole application filed by petitioner M Samsunisha on behalf of her husband, Mohammed Ansari, who is currently serving a life sentence for his active role in the 1998 Coimbatore serial bomb blast case.

Facts of the case

The petitioner on her plea stated that her eldest daughter Fathima’s marriage is fixed on April 16th. Since she is frail and old it is impossible for her to carry out all the responsibilities of the impending marriage all on her own. She will also require help with marriage expenses and related costs, a matter on which she would need her husband’s support. Beside to fulfill the various customs and traditions of the said marriage her husband should be granted two months parole.

She further reiterated that her husband on previous occasions having been granted parole maintained the rule of law and has shown exemplary dedication in presenting himself to the Superintendent of Police’s office and has never violated the conditions of his parole.

Parole in India

Parole has always been an integral part of British legal system and is considered a humanitarian measure for the reformation of a prison system. It is seen as a change in perspective on the issues of human rights of prisoners and an evolutionary shift in attitudes towards crime and criminals.

The genesis of parole in Indian legal system is from the British common law reflected in Section 5(B) of the Prisons Act, 1894 which reads as follows: “Parole system means the system of releasing prisoners in Jail on parole, by suspension of their sentences in accordance with the rules for the time being in force.”

Parole is not an absolute right in Indian legal system and can be denied under certain circumstances. The prisoner has to strictly abide by the stipulated rules of his parole otherwise he is considered to be violating them and then he will be returned to his cell. A prisoner is eligible for 90 days of parole in one calendar year depending on his good behavior in prison.

The decision of the judges

Madras High Court Division Bench comprising of Justices C.T. Selvam and N. Sathish Kumar decided on the case. They conceded that there is merit in petitioner’s case and granted Mohammed Ansari a parole for 20 days starting from April 10 to 30. The judges found merit in petitioner’s contention that Mohammed Ansari is eligible for ordinary leave under Rule 22 of the Tamil Nadu Suspension of Sentence rules as he has already completed 3 years of his sentence as was indicated in the rules.

The Court directed the Superintendent of Police, Central Prison, Coimbatore to provide the necessary security to the prisoner during his time of parole. The Court further reiterated that it is the responsibility of the Superintendent of Police to make sure that the prisoner safely returns to the prison on May 1st to continue serving his life sentence.

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