In a move that is likely to affect the powers of Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain, Lt Governor Anil Baijal has inserted two new clauses into a law that pertains to granting parole to a prisoner. Baijal, through his decision, has empowered the Principal Secretary (Home) to grant parole in most cases. The Lieutenant Governor brought an amendment in Para 15 into the Parole/Furlough Guidelines 2010 and communicated it to the Delhi government through an order, The Indian Express has reported.
Earlier, the Para 15 stated that “the government shall decide the period of release on the merits of each case, for reasons to be specified in the order granting parole.”
The first (15.1) of the two new clauses introduced by Baijal stated that in certain cases, including ones under POCSO, multiple murders and murder after rape, the L-G shall continue to be the competent authority for grant of parole. However, Para 15.2 stated, “The competent authority for grant of parole in all cases, except cases mentioned in Para 15.1, shall be Pr. Sec. (Principal Secretary) Home, GNCT of Delhi,” reported The Indian Express.
The guidelines further mentioned that Deputy Secretary, Home (General), would scrutinise parole applications and ensure that the Home Department takes a decision within three weeks, “including approvals at all levels”. However, a top official told IE that Principal Secretary (Home) will end up deciding the fate of nearly 90 per cent of the cases.
With news norms, the minister’s opinion will be only be taken if the prisoner has been convicted of – murder after rape, murder, and rape of children, multiple murders, cases investigated by CBI or any central agency, cases in which conviction is under Prevention of Corruption Act or POCSO Act.
The Delhi government has targeted LG Baijal for his alleged intervention in legislative matters. Recently, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia asked Baijal if his only role was to “paralyse” the government and “protect corrupt officers”. The AAP MLAs protested after the session and demanded Baijal’s resignation.