This article on ‘Laws related to Parole in India: All you need to know‘ was written by Mohammed Zaid Alam, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
Parole is a privilege, not a right, and prisoners must meet certain criteria to be considered for release. A parole is a temporary release of a prisoner who agrees to certain conditions and restrictions, allowing them to leave prison before the completion of their sentence. In India, parole is governed by various laws and regulations that vary depending on the state in which the prisoner is incarcerated.
The article provides an analysis of the parole system as well as various laws and regulations governing the grant of parole, including the Code of Criminal Procedure, prison rules, and other related guidelines. The article also goes through various case laws on the parole system in India. It also highlights that although the laws related to parole in India vary from state to state, the basic principles underlying the grant of parole remain the same.
Origin and Concept of Parole System in India
The concept of parole is based on the principle of rehabilitation, which aims to help prisoners reintegrate into society and lead a normal life after their release. The origin of the parole system in India can be traced back to the British colonial era when the Indian Penal Code of 1860 was enacted. The code provided for the temporary release of prisoners on the grounds of illness, family emergencies, or other humanitarian grounds.
The Prisons Act of 1894 further refined the concept of parole by allowing for the temporary release of prisoners on the grounds of good behaviour and providing guidelines for the management and administration of prisons in India. Each state in India also has its laws and regulations related to parole, which may vary in terms of the eligibility criteria for parole, the length of the release period, and the conditions that prisoners must follow while on parole.
The concept of parole is based on the belief that prisoners who have shown good behaviour and a willingness to reform should be given a second chance to reintegrate into society. By providing prisoners with a temporary release from prison, the parole system aims to encourage them to lead a normal life and reform themselves. This helps to reduce the burden on the overcrowded prison system and contributes to the overall goal of achieving a just and fair criminal justice system.
Parole consists of two types i.e. Regular parole which includes illness, calamities, etc., and Emergency Parole which includes the death of family members. The decision to grant parole is typically made by a parole board, which evaluates the prisoner’s case and determines whether they are eligible for release. Once released, the prisoner must follow certain conditions, such as reporting regularly to a parole officer and refraining from engaging in any criminal activities.
Laws Governing Parole in India
These laws provide the legal framework for the parole system in India and govern the grant and revocation of parole, they are:
Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC): It provides for the grant of parole to prisoners. Section 432 of the CrPC gives the power to the state government to release a prisoner on parole before the completion of their sentence. This power can be exercised at any time after the prisoner’s conviction and can be granted for a specified period or until the prisoner’s sentence is completed.
Section 433A of the CrPC specifies the eligibility criteria for the grant of parole. According to this section, a prisoner who has completed one-third of their sentence (in case of general crimes) or half of their sentence (in case of heinous crimes) may be released on parole. However, this provision is subject to certain conditions, such as the absence of any pending appeals or cases against the prisoner, and the submission of a satisfactory surety for the prisoner’s release.
Also, Section 435 of the CrPC allows the government to grant remission of sentences to prisoners, which may include the release of parole. It’s important to note that the grant of parole is a discretionary power and not an absolute right. The decision to grant parole is usually based on objective criteria and is subject to the discretion of the parole board.
Prisons Act, 1894: It provides for the establishment of a parole board to evaluate the prisoner’s case and decide whether to grant parole. Section 36 of the Prisons Act gives the power to the state government to release a prisoner on parole before the completion of their sentence. The parole board established under the state government evaluates the prisoner’s case and decides whether to grant parole. The board may consider factors such as the prisoner’s conduct in prison, their likelihood of reoffending, their social and economic conditions, and their family situation while making this decision.
Model Prison Manual: It is a set of guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, for the management of prisons in India. The manual includes provisions related to the grant of parole to prisoners. Chapter 27 of the Model Prison Manual provides detailed guidelines for the grant of parole. According to these guidelines, parole can be granted to prisoners based on the following grounds:
- Family grounds: Parole can be granted to prisoners based on compassionate grounds, such as visiting a seriously ill family member or attending a family function like a wedding or funeral.
- Medical grounds: Parole can be granted to prisoners who need medical treatment that is not available in the prison hospital or to undergo medical tests or surgery.
- Other grounds: Parole can also be granted to prisoners for other reasons, such as to pursue higher education or vocational training, to participate in sports or cultural activities, or to settle family or business disputes. Section 4 specifies the eligibility criteria, the procedure for applying for parole, and the conditions to be followed during the parole period. Section 60A allows for the release of prisoners on emergency parole in case of a natural disaster or other emergencies.
State Laws: While the CrPC and the Prisons Act provide a general framework for the grant of parole in India, specific provisions and eligibility criteria for parole may vary from state to state. For example, the state of Maharashtra has its own set of rules and regulations for the grant of parole, which are laid down in the Maharashtra Prisons (Furlough and Parole) Rules, 1959. These rules specify the eligibility criteria for the grant of parole, the procedure for applying for parole, and the conditions to be followed during the parole period.
Similarly, Delhi has its own set of rules and regulations for the grant of parole, which are laid down in the Delhi Prison Rules, 2018. These rules provide guidelines for the grant of emergency parole and regular parole, the eligibility criteria for different types of parole, and the procedure for applying for parole. Other states also have their laws and policies governing the grant of parole, which may vary in terms of the eligibility criteria, the procedure for applying for parole, and the conditions to be followed during the parole period.
Important Case Laws on Parole in India
There have been several important case laws related to the parole system in India. Some of the significant ones are:
Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration (1978): In this case, the Supreme Court held that the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution includes the right to parole. The court also held that the grant of parole must be based on objective criteria and not left to the discretion of the prison authorities.
State of Haryana v. Jagbir Singh (2015): In this case, the Supreme Court held that the parole board must consider the social and economic conditions of the prisoner and their family while deciding whether to grant parole.
State of Maharashtra v. Laxman Namdeo Wankhade (2019): In this case, the Supreme Court held that the grant of parole must be based on the principle of rehabilitation and reintegration of the prisoner into society.
Sanjay Chandra v. State (2020): The Delhi High Court allowed the release of a convict on interim parole due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The court directed the authorities to release the convict on parole for a limited period, subject to certain conditions.
Abdul Karim Telgi v. State of Maharashtra (2019): The Bombay High Court upheld the decision of the Maharashtra government to deny parole to a convicted forger and counterfeiter. The court observed that the grant of parole is a discretionary power and that the parole board has the right to deny parole if it believes that the prisoner may pose a risk to society.
In conclusion, the concept of parole is an important aspect of the criminal justice system in India. Parole provides an opportunity for prisoners to be released temporarily from prison, subject to certain conditions, and allows them to reintegrate into society gradually. It is also incumbent to note that the lack of a uniform law on parole across the country can lead to confusion and inconsistent decisions regarding the grant of parole.
It is also true that there have been instances of parole being misused or abused by influential people, which can erode public confidence in the system. Overall, the parole system in India plays an important role in ensuring the effective management of prisons and the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners into society.
- What is Parole?, available at: https://www.mondaq.com/india/trials-amp-appeals-amp-compensation/905726/what-is-parole (last visited on March 25, 2023).
- Parole in India and laws related to it, available at: https://blog.ipleaders.in/parole-india-laws-related/ (last visited on March 25, 2023).
- Varsha, “Parole Laws In India: A Tool To Social Rehabilitation Or Route To Recidivism” BNB LEGAL, Mar. 25. 2023.
- A comparative study of probation and parole is available at: https://blog.ipleaders.in/comparative-study-probation-parole/ (last visited March 25, 2023).
- Lakshay Mehta, “Parole Laws in India” LawBhoomi, Mar. 25, 2023.