The Maharashtra government has reportedly put on hold all parole applications, irrespective of the crime. However, the Maharashtra Home Department also said that emergency parole will be given on a case-by-case basis.
Times Now reported that this move came almost a month after the killer of Mumbai lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha escaped. Sajjad Moghul, convicted for murdering Purkayastha, “went missing” while on parole. The Maharashtra government decided to modify the parole rules soon after this incident, reported The Indian Express.
DIG of Nashik jail JS Naik was suspended for approving his parole and recommending an extension. The parole was granted in February this year.
He was supposed to report back to Nashik jail on 26 March but failed to do so.
The report also quoted Vijay Satbir Singh, Principal Home Secretary as saying, “We will have a re-look at the procedures that involve granting parole to prisoners. Besides, we will also look into the powers that the authorities concerned have.”
Earlier this month, the Maharashtra Governments Prisons Department had proposed that this period of temporary release be excluded while counting the sentence period in an attempt to discourage convicts from applying for parole frequently, India Today reported.
This was also in response to Moghul jumping his parole. The other key change suggested was to vest powers to grant parole with a district collector and not the divisional commissioner as is the case now.
The state government also drew flak from the Bombay High Court for extending the parole of actor Sanjay Dutt. It was accused of showing ‘extra diligence’ in the matter and discriminating between him and other convicts.
The court also asked the state’s chief secretary to form a committee comprising senior home, law and judiciary department officials, representatives of jail administration and other competent officers to suggest amendments to the rules and procedure related to screening of parole and furlough applications.
Dutt’s parole was extended on account of his wife’s deteriorating health and Moghul was given a parole to attend to his ailing mother.
With inputs from PTI.