High Court grants parole to convict as govt opposes, cites judicial precedents


The Gujarat High Court on Friday granted 15-days parole to a convict serving life sentence for the burning of Sabarmati Express train in Godhra. The HC held that grant of parole does not equate to suspension of sentence, but is rather counted as part of sentence, and does not interfere with pending appeal proceedings before the Supreme Court. The Gujarat government had opposed the parole citing judicial precedents.

Hasan Ahmed Charkha alias Lalu had moved HC last month seeking 60-day parole for attending the marriage of his relatives on July 16. It was pointed out by Charkha’s counsels that his jail conduct record has been good, that he has been granted parole before and had surrendered on time and that no untoward incident has been reported during his earlier releases.

The state had, however, opposed the grant of parole, relying on judicial precedents of the HC. It had said that convicts are not entitled to be released on parole or furlough during pendency of the appeal against the conviction and sentence at a higher court of appeal, in this case the SC.

Charkha’s appeal against his conviction remains pending before the SC and his bail application, too, is pending before the apex court. The state had further said that judicial comity demands that HC refrains from exercising its powers in this regard where the appellate court is seized of the matter in appeal. It also submitted that releasing the convict on parole would amount to suspension of sentence, which is only permissible under CrPC Section 389 and therefore, exercise of powers under writ jurisdiction would amount to interference of the appellate court jurisdiction, which is seized of the appeal against conviction.

Justice Nisha Thakore of the HC, relying on past judgments, observed that it has been held that the administrative arm of the government has no power to grant parole when appeals of convicts are pending, and in case of grant of parole, it has already been held by the SC that it does not amount to suspension of sentence. Also referring to the Prisons (Bombay Furlough and Parole) Rules, 1959, Justice


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