Arrest prisoners jumping parole, says High Court

Issues slew of guidelines to monitor the practice

Arrest prisoners jumping parole, says High Court

The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday directed the State  government to immediately arrest all the prisoners who have jumped parole, and initiate action against officials concerned for dereliction of duty.

During the hearing of a suo motu petition on prisoners on parole, a division bench comprising Justices K Bhaktavatsala and K N Keshavanarayana took the State government to task for not initiating any action on prisoners jumping parole, all these years.

“Why the authorities concerned have slept over the matter for such a long period,” the bench observed, directing the government to martian a register on the prisoners released on parole. It noted that Karnataka Prisons Act does not provide for monitoring the release of prisoners on parole by the judiciary.  

Slew of directions

The court issued a slew of directions to the State government to monitor prisoners released on parole. Accordingly, the superintendents of all the jails in the district should file a report on the prisoners released on parole and those yet to report back after the expiry of their parole period to the judicial magistrate concerned before May 31. 

Further, from June 2014, the superintendents should submit a day-to-day report to the magistrates on such prisoners. 

The magistrates should maintain a “parole register” and inspect the prisons, quarterly and submit a report on the attendance of prison inmates by July 1.

The bench also sought a report on the prisoners who have jumped parole by June 30. The superintendents of prisons were directed to lodge a complaint against the convicts who have not returned after expiry of the parole period.

Senior High Court advocate B V Acharya, who was appointed the amicus curiae in the case, submitted that the court has to be informed when prisoners are released on parole. Information on prisoners jumping parole should be furnished to the judicial magistrate, he said.

Advocate General Ravivarma Kumar submitted that they had issued directions to the superintendents of prisons to lodge a complaint within 24 hours against the convict who fails to return after the lapse of the parole.  

Networking of all prisons

He submitted that National Informatics Centre was working towards networking of all the prisons in India to keep track of the prisoners.

According to the statistics submitted by the government, a total of 91 prisoners have jumped parole in the State.  

Dying declaration

The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday observed that there was a need to amend the Indian Evidence Act to provide for recording of dying declarations in the presence of a judicial officer.

The court finds it difficult to decide a case if the statement of the eyewitness is contrary to the dying declaration of the victim, a division bench comprising Justices K Bhakthavatsala and K N Keshavanarayana said in its order on a criminal appeal.

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