In an order issued last week, the Delhi Lieutenant-Governor has approved the “Parole/Furlough: Guidelines 2010’’ which have also laid down the rules for furlough, which as per the definition in dictionary means “a temporary release of a convict from prison; a system that allowed murderers to leave prison for weekend furloughs’’.
Incidentally, while in the past five years, no prisoner in Delhi has been released on a furlough, as per the new guidelines, now “a prisoner who is sentenced to five years or more or rigorous imprisonment but has undergone three years of imprisonment excluding remission can be released on furlough’’.
While those convicted of robbery, dacoity, arson, kidnapping, abduction, rape and extortion would not be eligible for release on furlough, those convicted of murder or attempt to murder would be able to avail of this provision.
As per the guidelines, a prisoner would be entitled to seven weeks of furlough in a year.
The first spell could consist of three weeks, while the subsequent spells would consist of two weeks each.
The other criteria, apart from nature of crime, that governs the eligibility of a prisoner include that the prisoner should have “good conduct in the prison and should have earned three annual good conduct remissions and continues to maintain good conduct’’.
Also the prisoner should not be a habitual offender and should not have been convicted of any offence relating to any offence against the State such as sedition.
Further, “the release of the prisoner should not be considered dangerous or deleterious to the interest of national security or there exists reasonable ground to believe that the convict is involved in a pending investigation in a case involving serious crime’’. Also, the convict should not be “such a person whose presence is considered highly dangerous or prejudicial to the public peace and tranquillity by the District Magistrate of his home district’’.
The guideline also lays down that “if an appeal of a convict is pending before the High Court or the period for filing an appeal before the High Court has not expired, furlough will not be granted and it would be open to the convict to seek appropriate directions from Court’’.
The sanctioning authority for furlough would be the Director General, Prisons, and an intimation would have to be made to the Home Department of the Delhi Government.
The cases of furlough will be completed on a fast-track basis by the Superintendent of Jail, in coordination with the Department of Home, within a period of two weeks. And it would be open to the “competent authority’’ to impose suitable conditions while granting furlough in exceptional cases.
The guidelines also stipulate that the Director General (Prisons) would maintain a computerised database to deal with all cases and applications for grant of furlough.