Apply mind before denying parole to prisoners, Bombay HC tells jail authorities
Chanin Wardkhian

Mumbai: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court recently said that passing mechanical orders without any proper reasoning to deny parole or furlough leaves to prisoners would make a psychological or physical impact on their health. The HC has ordered the Director-General of Police (Prisons) to personally look into the issue of "vague" orders being passed by various prison authorities to deny parole or furlough leaves to prisoners.

A bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Avinash Gharote said, "The order passed by prison authorities, the instant matter is as vague as it could be. It is yet another example of non-speaking order, which has been passed without any application of mind whatsoever."

"Such orders, do have their deep impact on the psychology and physical health of the prisoners and therefore ought to be passed after due consideration of all relevant material," the judges observed.

The bench was seized with a convict's plea seeking parole on the ground that the prison authorities have passed a "non-speaking" order to deny the special leaves to him. It noted that the order did not specify as to how the convict would become ineligible for grant of furlough leave in accordance with the provisions contained in the law.

"The rules provide recommendation for grant of leave by the concerned police officer on the grounds of public peace and tranquillity. Nothing is stated about the satisfaction of the concerned authority regarding disturbance of public peace and tranquillity in case, if the present applicant is released on parole leave," the judges noted.

"The Deputy Inspector General, Prisons (Eastern Region), who has passed the impugned order, has not even cared about expressing the opinion about the work and conduct of the prisoner being not satisfactory enough. It is woefully lacking on various parameters of the law. It does not even whisper about the subjective satisfaction of the authorities," the bench added.

The judges further said that the deficiencies in the order, "sufficiently showed the non-application of mind on the part of the authorities and the same is being passed in a mechanical manner."

"We have been noticing that the orders in such matters like furlough and parole are passed by the authorities in a highly unsatisfactory manner. The orders are, many times, seen to be non-speaking orders and they exhibit quite glaringly the non-application of mind on their part," the judges said.

"It appears to us that some format has been devised for the passing of such orders and what is done before the passing of the order is invariably to fill in the blanks in the format. This could be verified and seen from several such orders," they added.

The bench accordingly ordered the authorities to release the applicant convict on parole.

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