Context: The Delhi High Court granted six hour custody parole to national coordinator of the now banned Popular Front of India (PFI). About Parole:
- Parole is a conditional release of a prisoner who has served part of the period for which he was condemned to jail.
- The release is conditional, usually subject to behaviour, and requires periodic reporting to the authorities for a set period of time. Parole is considered a reformative process.
- Parole may be denied to a prisoner even when he makes out a sufficient case, if the competent authority is satisfied that releasing the convict would not be in the interest of society.
- In Sunil Fulchand Shah v. Union of India (2000), the Supreme Court said explicitly that parole does not amount to suspension of sentence.
- In Election Commission of India vs. Mukhtar Ansari (2017) case, the Delhi High Court declared that custody parole cannot be used as a substitute for bail and cannot be extended for long periods of time or for daily visits.
- Custody parole is provided in emergency situations.
- Except for foreigners and those serving death sentences, all convicted persons may be eligible for emergency parole for 14 days for reasons such as the death of a family member and the marriage of a family member.
- Except in exceptional circumstances, offenders who have served at least one year in prison are eligible for regular parole for a maximum of one month.
- A convict must have served at least one year in jail, excluding any time spent in remission.
- The prisoner’s behaviour had to be uniformly good.
- The criminal should not have committed any crimes during the period of parole if it was granted previously.
- A minimum of six months should have passed since the previous parole was terminated.