HC adjourns hearing on PIL challenging Sanjay Dutt's release

The Bombay High Court has adjourned hearing of a PIL challenging the early release on remission of Sanjay Dutt from Pune's Yerawada prison, after observing that there was no urgency as the actor has already been released on Thursday.

Sanjay DuttSanjay Dutt. Pic/AFP

A division bench of justices V M Kanade and Revati Mohite Dere sought to know from petitioner Pradeep Bhalekar, a social activist, why he approached the court at the last minute.

Dutt, who served the five-year sentence awarded to him by Supreme Court in the 1993 bomb blasts case, was released this morning from the Yerawada prison near Pune after the Maharashtra Home department granted him remission considering his good behaviour.

Bhalekar, in his petition filed on Wednesday through advocate Nitin Satpute, challenged the government's decision and sought for it to be quashed and set aside.

Advocate Satpute mentioned the petition before the bench on Thursday seeking urgent hearing, but the court refused and said nothing urgent remained in the petition as Dutt has been already released.

Satpute told the court that his client had gone to Mantralaya earlier this week with a representation. "He (Bhalekar) wanted to personally come yesterday to high court to mention his petition, but the police detained him when he left his house," the advocate claimed. The high Court then posted the petition for hearing on February 29.

The 56-year-old actor walked out of Yerawada prison on Thursday. His release came 103 days ahead of the end of his full prison term.

According to Maharashtra Home Department, he was given remission on account of good conduct. Dutt had surrendered in May 2013 after the apex court upheld his conviction by a special court here for possession of arms and ammunitions which was part of the consignment used in the 1993 serial bomb blasts.

During the investigation and the marathon trial, he spent 18 months in jail.

On July 31, 2007, the TADA court in Mumbai sentenced him to six years' rigorous imprisonment under the Arms Act and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000. In 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling but reduced the sentence to five years, following which he surrendered to serve the remainder of his sentence. During his imprisonment, Dutt was granted parole of 90 days in December 2013 and again for 30 days later.

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