“One year delay in deciding remission plea”: SC grants parole to life term convict 

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The Supreme Court has directed release of a life term convict on parole, noting a one year delay by the Gujarat government in deciding his plea for premature release, on account of administrative lapses.

A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Pankaj Mithal expressed court's displeasure, saying that the state government has not complied with its previous order for deciding the matter within two weeks.

"The State Government has taken one year to consider the prayer for premature release of the petitioner. We, therefore, direct that the petitioner shall be forthwith enlarged on parole on appropriate terms and conditions," the bench said, dealing with a plea filed by Mafabhai Motibhai Sagar.

In the instant case, the court pointed out its order of August 28, 2023 clearly records that nearly one year back on September 22, 2022, the Jail Advisory Committee had unanimously opined that the petitioner should be granted remission. It is also noted in the order that in November, 2022, the proposal sent to the State Government was returned on the ground that the proposal was

"Therefore, we observed in the order that the Government has to blame itself for the delay in considering the proposal. Hence, we passed a clear order directing the State Government to take appropriate decision on the proposal and to place the same before this Court within two weeks," the bench said.

On Monday, the bench said an affidavit has been filed by the State Government of PG Narwade, Deputy Superintendent, Lajpore Central Prison, Surat. 

Firstly, the State has not applied for extension of time to comply with the last order. The affidavit shows that ADGP is still in the process of preparing a proposal for submitting it to the State Government (Home Department) for passing final order, the bench said. 

"The affidavit is silent about the time frame in which that will be done. The State has not applied for extension of time granted under order dated 28.08.2023. Not even an apology has been tendered for the delay. On the contrary, the State has defended the delay but has also said that there were administrative lapses," the bench said.

The state government, on its part, sought two weeks further time to comply with the order.

Allowing the plea, the court directed the state government to place its order before it within two weeks and directed that the order of parole granted to the petitioner would continue till then.

Case Title: Mafabai Moti Bai Sagar Vs State of Gujarat