Supreme Court Suspends Release of Leave Asaram Son; Consider whether the leave can be granted after a calendar year or a year has passed since the last version
The Supreme Court on Thursday suspended the granting of a two-week temporary absence to Narayan Sai, the son of Asaram, convicted of rape, who is also serving a life sentence in a rape case in 2013.
The bench of Judges DY Chandrachud and MR Shah was hearing the state of Gujarat’s special permission petition against the June order of the Single Judge of the High Court of Gujarat granting the convicted respondent on leave for a period of 2 weeks. The bench recorded that the ordinance was initially suspended for a period of 3 weeks, subsequently the stay was extended until August 13 at the request of the State and, therefore, the ordinance was not not executed to date.
SG Tushar Mehta, for the requesting State, argued that, as explained in the 2006 Supreme Court decision in The case of Suresh Pandurang Darvakar, the granting of leave is not a question of law, as it appears from Bombay Furlough and Parole Rules, 1959 Rule 17, which are applicable in the state of Gujarat. Said Rule 17 states that there is no legal right to leave and that this is subject to certain conditions.
He further argued that rule 4 clauses (4) and (6) provide that permission may be refused in the case of prisoners whose release is not recommended by the Commissioner of Police or, as the case may be, by the district magistrate on the grounds of public peace and tranquility, and by prisoners whose conduct is in the opinion of the prison superintendent, not satisfactory enough.
“In the present case, the respondent is found guilty of the offenses referred to in article 376 read with article 34 of the CPI. The circumstances of public peace and quiet relating to the respondent’s release are set out in the order of the State DGP. The Respondent was put on leave for a period of 2 weeks in December 2020 due to his mother’s ill health, and the state rightly had not taken any adversarial approach on this occasion. nature of the crime and acts of intimidation of witnesses and the investigating officer, a risk for public order and public tranquility is apprehended upon his release “, recorded the bench.
The judiciary noted orally that the release of the respondent on leave in December 2020 had been ‘without incidents’, there was no issue apprehending him after the deadline expired and no allegation that he did not surrender, and also that there is nothing on file other than his release in December 2020 has witnessed problems of public order or public peace and quiet.
The court noted that the condition clause in rule 3 (2) states that a prisoner sentenced to life imprisonment may be released on leave each year after completing seven years of actual imprisonment. The bench agreed to review the SLP on the aspect of whether the expression “each year” in the said Rule is to be understood as a calendar year or in the sense of the period between the last release of the inmate on leave, being December 2020 in this case.
“Considering the object and purpose of the leave, we are entitled to 15 days per year. Now the respondent was released in December 2020. Could he have requested a leave in January of this year as well or the right? only accumulates in December? Your best bet would be whether the leave should be granted once per calendar year or if it has been a year since the last release. That’s what weighs on our minds ” , said the bench to the SG.
Accepting to examine the challenge to the granting of leave on this issue, the judiciary issued an opinion on the SLP.
“Pending further orders, the contested order ordering the release of the respondent on leave will be suspended for 2 weeks”ordered the bench.