The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed one Special Leave Petition (SLP) and upheld the Bombay High Court order (Rohan Dhungat vs State of Goa and ors) that ruled parole availed by a prisoner cannot be counted as part of the duration of sentence while considering the minimum imprisonment of 14 years required for premature release from prison under the 2006 Goa Prison Rules.
Senior Advocate Siddharth Dave, appearing on behalf of the petitioners submitted:
“that in the facts and circumstances of the case the Hon’ble High Court has seriously erred in holding that the period of parole is to be excluded from the period of sentence under the Rules, 2006 while considering 14 years of actual imprisonment for the purpose of premature release.”
He also submitted:
“that the Hon’ble High Court has erred in relying on the Rule 335 of the Rules, 2006 to hold that since period of release on parole is counted as remission, the same cannot be counted as part of sentence.”
“that even as per Section 55 of the Prisons Act, 1894, a prisoner when being taken to or from any prison in which he may be lawfully confined, shall be deemed to be in prison and therefore, deemed to be in custody and therefore, the period of parole shall have to be included as in custody for the purpose of actual period of imprisonment while considering 14 years of actual imprisonment.”
A bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar while considering the aforesaid question/issue, the object and purpose of parole taken into consideration made clear that:
“Parole is a conditional release. Parole can be granted in case of short-term imprisonment. Duration of parole extends to one month. Parole is granted by the State Government. For parole, specific reason is required. Parole can be granted for number of times.”
“Imprisonment” is defined under Rule 2(21) of the Rules, 2006. “Imprisonment” means imprisonment of either description as defined in Section 53 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the General Clauses Act,1897. The term of imprisonment is not included in the computation of term of parole.”
The Judges mentioned:
“The High Court while passing the impugned judgment and order and taking the view that the period of parole is to be excluded from the period of sentence while considering 14 years of actual imprisonment has heavily relied upon or considered Rule 335 of the Rules, 2006 which provides that the period of release on Furlough and Parole “shall be counted as remission of sentence ….”. Once the period of parole is to be counted as remission of sentence, as rightly observed and held by the High Court, the period of parole is also required to be excluded from the period of sentence while considering 14 years of actual imprisonment.”
Court Further made it clear:
“If the submission on behalf of the prisoners that the period of parole is to be included while considering 14 years of actual imprisonment is accepted, in that case, any prisoner who may be influential may get the parole for number of times as there is no restrictions and it can be granted number of times and if the submission on behalf of the prisoners is accepted, it may defeat the very object and purpose of actual imprisonment. We are of the firm view that for the purpose of considering actual imprisonment, the period of parole is to be excluded. We are in complete agreement with the view taken by the High Court holding so.”
Special Leave Petitions were thereafter dismissed by the Apex Court.
SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL) NOS. 12574-12577 OF 2022 (@ DIARY NO. 29535 OF 2022)