Reply to PIL challenging SanjayDutt’s parole, furlough

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Thursday asked the Maharashtra government to reply to a public interest litigation (PIL) which has challenged the repeated parole and furlough being granted to actor Sanjay Dutt.

The Bombay high court on Thursday asked the Maharashtra government to reply to a public interest litigation (PIL) which has challenged the repeated parole and furlough being granted to actor Sanjay Dutt.

A division bench of Justices VM Kanade and Revati Mohite-Dere has asked the government to respond, while hearing a PIL by advocate Tushar Pabale, pointing out the abuse of discretionary powers on the part of the Pune jail superintendent and the Pune divisional commissioner.

Pabale had filed the PIL last year when Dutt was out on Parole from December 2013 till March 2014. Dutt had come out on furlough on December 24, 2014 for a period of 14 days. The same expired on January 8, 2015. However, he surrendered on January 10 this year, after his application of extension for the same was rejected.

Pabale’s advocate Nikhil Chaudhari argued that a convict should spend at least a year behind bars before being granted another furlough. “This means that a convict must serve 365 days of actual imprisonment before being granted another furlough. In between, if he is released on parole, those days cannot be included while calculating the actual days imprisonment,” argued Chaudhari.

Dutt was granted furlough of 28 days in October 2013. In December, 2013, he was granted parole for a month. In January, his parole was extended for another month and he was to surrender on February 21. However, Dutt applied for another month’s extension, citing his wife’s ill health. Dutt’s application was allowed on February 18 by the Pune divisional commissioner and he surrendered on March 21 last year.

So, between October 2013 and December 2014, Dutt was out on furlough and parole for four months in total. This shows that Dutt has not spent a minimum of 365 days behind bars before being released on furlough again. “Between furlough granted in October 2013 and now, he was out for three months on parole. This cannot be included while calculating actual imprisonment days,” argued Chaudhari.

Since his surrender on May 16, 2013, he has been out of jail for 134 days, either on parole or furlough. The petition prays for guidelines to be framed while considering parole and furlough applications of convicts.

Furlough
October 2013 – 28 days

Parole
December 2013 – January 21, 2014 for a month
This was extended twice by a month each
January – February 21
March 21, 2014 – surrendered

Furlough
December 24, 2014 to January 8, 2015