Furlough not prisoner’s right, says SC in Asaram son’s case | India News

Furlough not prisoner’s right, says SC in Asaram son’s case | India News


NEW DELHI: Reversing a Gujarat high court order granting relief to Asaram’s son Narayan Sai, both of whom have been convicted for rape and unnatural sex, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that prisoners having put sufficient time behind bars could be released on furlough without any specific reason, but they cannot claim this relief as a matter of right.
A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and B V Nagarathna differentiated between furlough and parole, the two short-term release from prison granted to convicts. Writing the judgment, Justice Chandrachud said, “While parole is granted to the prisoner to meet a specific exigency, furlough may be granted after a stipulated number of years have been served without any reason.”
Explaining the rationale behind grant of furlough, the bench said it is to break the monotony of imprisonment and to enable the convict to maintain continuity with family life and integration with society. However, it said, “Although furlough can be claimed without a reason, the prisoner does not have an absolute legal right to claim furlough. The grant of furlough must be balanced against the public interest and can be refused to certain categories of prisoners.”
The Gujarat government had appealed against the HC’s decision to grant furlough to Narayan Sai, who along with his father Asaram was convicted in 2019 under many sections of IPC. It had alleged that the conduct of the convict, during the earlier grant of furlough and parole, was examined by authorities and a decision was taken that his release on furlough wasn’t in public interest.
The HC had said that the convict has been in prison in connection with the cases for over seven years and there was no illegality in action reported against him during the earlier release on parole and furlough.
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for Gujarat, had argued that “Even if it is accepted that the prisoner is entitled to a furlough of 14 days in a year after serving a sentence of seven years, in this case he was granted furlough on December 2, 2020 and was granted interim bail from January 31, 2021 to February 3. Thus, he can’t be granted furlough again in July.”
Accepting the state’s argument, the bench said, “The jail superintendent has given a negative opinion based on the fact that Narayan Sai kept a cellphone inside the jail illegally… The order of May 8 has adduced circumstances which indicate that his release on furlough may lead to a violation of public peace. The order refers to the threat he and his followers pose to the complainant.”





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