State appoints nine-member panel to scrutinise parole approval norms after HC criticised and pulled the government for approving back-to-back parole extensions to Dutt
After being pulled up by the Bombay High Court over repeated parole extensions to Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, the state has appointed a high-level committee to pinpoint lacunas in the existing system used to review and approve parole applications.
The nine-member panel will be headed by additional chief secretary (appeals and security), principal secretaries of law and judiciary, public health as its members.
No more breathers: Citing his wife Manyata failing health, Sanjay Dutt applied for extensions to his parole and it was approved. File pic
The other members include additional DG and IG (prisons), additional DG (admin), divisional commissioner Pune, deputy IG (prisons) Pune and director public health. While joint secretary (Prisons) would officiate as member secretary of the committee.
What they’ll do
The panel has been asked to work on a five-point protocol, besides studying lacunas in the existing procedure, for parole approval.
The committee would be scrutinising existing norms and observations made by the HC.
Once done, it would be suggesting measures to avoid delay in dealing with applications submitted for parole, mode of review for pending applications and procedure to verify medical certificates submitted by prisoners seeking extensions.
The committee has been given three months time to submit its report.
How it happened
The panel was formed after the HC issued directives on February 25, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) against extensions given to Dutt on a regular basis.
The HC had, while hearing a criminal writ petition, asked the state to chalk out measures to avoid delay in processing applications for parole, on November 18, 2013.
The issue got prominence after the state machinery approved paroles to Dutt and even accepted his request for extension.
Dutt had availed 60 days parole out of the permissible limit of 90 days in a calendar year citing his wife Manyata's ill-health.
The third extension to his parole was granted last month by the authorities, thus ending his permissible limit of parole.