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HC reduces punishment of prisoner who overstayed furlough

bombay high court

Mumbai : Citing humanitarian reasons, the Bombay High Court has reduced the punishment of a prisoner who overstayed for 93 days the period of furlough leave granted to him as his wife was unwell.

“Looking at the explanation submitted by the (prisoner) petitioner, we are of the opinion that, on humanitarian ground, the prison punishment ought to be reduced,” a division bench of Justices Mridula Bhatkar and V K Tahilramani said in a judgement on September 22.

Takku Singh Kalyani was punished by prison authorities which ordered that he would have to forfeit his remission in the ratio of 1:5, i.e for each day of overstay, 5 days of remission would be cut.

The aggrieved petitioner moved the high court urging that the punishment was harsh and prayed that it may be set aside.

Takku pleaded that he had overstayed for 93 days as his wife was not well and had to undergo hysterectomy.

The High Court, on humanitarian grounds, reduced the punishment in the ratio of 1:3 i.e for every day of overstay, 3 days of remission would be cut.

Remission is a facility granted to a prisoner under the prison rules to avail leave on furlough.

The petitioner was given 14 days furlough leave after he applied on July 12, 2003. Pursuant to an order passed on February 3, 2004, the petitioner was released on furlough leave on March 20, 2004, for two weeks.

The petitioner had to surrender before the jail authorities on April 4, 2004. However, he did not surrender back in time and was therefore arrested and brought back to jail on July 7, 2004. Thus, he overstayed for a period of 93 days, the High Court was told by jail authorities.

A show cause notice was issued to the petitioner on August 11, 2005, calling for his explanation for overstay.

The petitioner submitted his explanation on October 10, 2005, in which he stated that his wife was sick and she required hysterectomy.

However, the high court, looking at his explanation, reduced the punishment ratio from 1:5 to 1:3, on humanitarian ground, saying in its opinion the punishment must not be severe in such cases.

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