A person convicted for rape will not be eligible for furlough under an amended prison manual notified in Maharashtra.
State Governor C Vidyasagar Rao has notified 30 new amendments to the jail manual, including exclusion of rape convicts from being eligible for furlough. "The amended jail manual has now gone for printing, after which it will be uploaded on the government's website for public view," Additional Director General of Police, Prisons, B K Upadhyay said, while noting that the proposed amendments have been notified by the Governor.
According to a senior official from the state Prisons Department, 30 amendments have been made in the existing prison manual, which also includes extending the continuous period of furlough granted to convicts.
A convict gets a total of 28 days of furlough in a year, out of which he can take 14 days at a time (and is entitled for another 14 days if authorities permit). "Now, the period of furlough has been extended to a maximum of 21 days for a convict who is serving a sentence of less than 10 years, plus a seven day extension if authorities find suitable, and a convict serving a term of more than 10 years will get 28 days furlough at a stretch," he said. "Also, a person convicted for rape will not be eligible for furlough," he said.
The official further said that according to the amended manual, police will not be required to reinvestigate a request of granting an interim extension of parole. "Thus, if the police feels, they can grant an extension of parole without investigating into the matter. But, it will be the responsibility of the police to ensure the convict appears before it every two days," he said.
He said the jail authorities will now have the power to send back the medical certificate provided by a convict to appropriate police or hospital authorities, if they find the certificate produced to be doubtful.
The manual also calls for restricting new constructions in the vicinity of the central prison. "Area within 150 metres of a central prison is now a no-man's zone where no construction is allowed. The restriction will be 100 metres for a district prison and 50 metres for a lower prison like taluka or a tehsil prison," he said.
"Also construction of a structure between 150-500 metres will be decided by a high-powered committee that will look into technicalities like height of the structure. The committee will have officials from municipal corporation, Urban Development Department, police and prison," he said. The official said there will also be provisions for creating new medical staff posts in prisons.