The Delhi Government has formulated guidelines for grant of parole to prisoners and the recommendations have been submitted to the Lieutenant-Governor for approval.

State Principal Secretary (Home) G.S. Patnaik said on Monday that the recommendations were sent to the L-G about four days ago. He said as per the proposals, time limits have been set for police verification of the inmates and the police would now be required to complete the exercise in 30 days.

As per the rules, the official process on a parole application starts with its verification by the police and then the application has to be cleared by the appropriate authority, which in Delhi is the L-G.

While in all other States the Director-General (Prisons) is vested with the power to grant parole, in Delhi this power is sought to be conferred on the L-G.

Mr. Patnaik said Delhi’s case is different and therefore a conscious decision has been taken not to go by statistics alone: “Here we are continuing with the restrictive clauses and the past criminal record of the person would be kept in mind while considering grant of parole. This would ensure that repeated offenders and those who can create a law and order problem do not benefit.”

Following grant of approval from the L-G, the file would be put up before the Delhi High Court. The Court has been seized of the matter for quite some time now and had in October asked the Delhi Government to formulate new guidelines so that parole pleas by convicts can be heard early.

The High Court had then observed that “most of the parole pleas become invalid as the convict has already spent more time (in jail) than his offence demanded, which is not fair”.

Stating that “verification of parole applications should be done expeditiously so that justice can be given to everyone”, it had asked the Delhi Government to formulate new guidelines within four weeks and listed the matter for November 25.

Incidentally, 28 Tihar Central Jail inmates had moved the court complaining of delay in hearing of their parole pleas. “In other northern States, 90 per cent of the prisoners get parole, whereas here (in Delhi) only five to 10 per cent are let off on parole — that too for a very little time,” they had stated.

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