Bombay HC denies furlough for blast convict

Bench cites adverse report by Prison chife

The Bombay High Court has refused to release a 2002-2003 triple blast convict Farhan Abdul Malik Khot on furlough. Lodged in the Kolhapur Central Prison, Farhan has undergone 14 years of imprisonment but was never released on furlough.

A Division Bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and N.J. Jamadar was hearing a criminal petition filed by Farhan’s brother Zeeshan seeking to quash and set aside an order passed by the Inspector General (IG) of Prisons on December 10, 2019. He also sought a direction from the court to the Superintendent of Kolhapur Prison to release his brother on furlough.

Farhan was arrested on May 1, 2003 and was sentenced under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and the Explosive Substances Act by a Special POTA court on April 6, 2016.

Appeal too rejected

He filed an application for furlough, which was rejected by the Deputy IG of Prisons on June 13, 2019, on the basis of the adverse report submitted by the Superintendent. He then filed an appeal against this order before the IG, Prisons, which was also rejected on December 10, 2019.

On February 26, 2020, the High Court partly allowed his petition by directing the Deputy IG to examine Farhan’s contention that he was sentenced under the POTA for 10 years and he had already completed that period, and passed fresh orders on his application for furlough leave. On March 14, 2020, the Deputy IG rejected the application for furlough which resulted in this petition.

Advocate N.N. Gavakar, appearing for Farhan, argued that the authorities erred in rejecting him furlough since he had already undergone the sentence of 10 years and the provision of disqualification could not be made applicable to him. He told the court that the jail authorities had not taken into account that. Although the petitioner had completed 14 years of imprisonment till date, he was never released on furlough leave.

Prosecutor’s opposition

However, the prosecutor opposed the plea and said Farhan could not be granted furlough leave in view of the amendment to the Maharashtra Prisons (Mumbai Furlough and Parole). The court relied upon “the adverse police report stating that those prisoners who are convicted for terrorist activities, waging war against State, abduction for extortion are not entitled to furlough leave unless they serve out the sentence for the respective offences.”

The court recorded, “The release of the prisoner on furlough leave is not recommended by the Prison Superintendent. It is also observed that in the event of release of the prisoner on furlough leave, he will abscond. We are in agreement with the said observations” and dismissed the petition.

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