‘Convict Can’t Be Denied Furlough Even If Code Of Conduct In Place': Bombay High Court

‘Convict Can’t Be Denied Furlough Even If Code Of Conduct In Place': Bombay High Court

The court noted that not releasing the convict in furlough would be “grossly erroneous and even would tantamount to dereliction of the order passed by the superior officer”.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, May 15, 2024, 08:36 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | PTI

Even if the model code of conduct is in place, a convict cannot be denied furlough (temporary release from prison) after it has been sanctioned by competent authority, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has said.

The court noted that not releasing the convict in furlough would be “grossly erroneous and even would tantamount to dereliction of the order passed by the superior officer”.

“Irrespective of the model code of conduct is in place or otherwise… once the competent authority has passed an order granting furlough, the initiative taken by his subordinate, ie superintendent of central prison, Harsool, referring to the supervening event of promulgation of the model code of conduct in the wake of Lok Sabha election, is grossly erroneous and even would tantamount to dereliction of the order passed by the superior officer,” a bench of Justices Mangesh Patil and Shailesh Brahme said.

The court rapped the superintendent of prisons of Harsool Prison for failing to release a convict on furlough citing the code of conduct for the election while hearing the plea by the petitioner convict Ganesh Ghatol. The court noted that Ghatol had been granted furlough for 28 days by the DIG Prison, five days before the code of conduct was notified.

However, the jail superintendent after some communication with the officials of Itwara, in Nanded, refused to release Ghatol, who is serving life sentence.

The bench also said that it has not been informed of any rule that could allow the jail superintendent to sit over the decision of DIG (Prison). If the SP wanted to act safely due to the code of conduct then he should have first communicated with the DIG about the change in situation.

“He does not seem to have undertaken any such exercise by keeping his superior officer informed about his attempt to consider this aspect. This has resulted in an awkward situation where the order granting furlough is still in operation and the Superintendent of Central Prison, Harsool is sitting over it, rather defying it,” the bench underlined.

The court has directed immediate release of Ghatol and asked the SP to file his reply.

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