Right to parole and right to furlough


This article was written by Shalaka Srivastva, a student of Lloyd Law College.

Right to parole and furlough, a way of conditional release of prisoners before they complete their sentence. With emergency or any other problems these rights are generally issued to the prisoners with the help of their good behaviour. Generally, it not used in India in larger manner but yes, it is on its starting steps. It is a type of probation of the offender in which they are provided with these rights. Probation means the release of an offender from, subject to a period of good behaviour under supervision. Under this supervision parole and furlough are just like a temporary release benefits for convict prisoners intended to reintegrate the ‘good’ prisoner with home and society. Noting is permanent in this world, so on that aspects a system is introduced to make a check and balance between the duration given to the prisoners for a period of rest, It is not required for them that they are not necessarily to be used only to meet with such emergencies, but can be sought to meet family obligations or even for preparing an appeal. It is not meant only for a good conduct provided to a prisoner but also a help given to a convict to back in a society. As our Indian judicial system is based on the reformative kind of system which provide a convict or prisoner to become a good person and restart his life with a new source. Mainly Society of India is like changeable in nature; they can change in every manner with the flow of change in time which is required demand of the society. So for that prospectus purpose it has been seen for those that long time convicts often have nowhere to go on their final release if they have not availed the various kinds of benefits while they are in jail. Over the world, sentencing without the method of parole and furlough rights is being considered absolutely inhuman. In India, system of parole and furlough rules varies across most states, but, according to the prison rules and with regards of recent Supreme Court judgments, both these forms of temporary release are to be considered as remission of sentences rather than its suspension. Both are same at some extended but parole requires a broad of members to grant release, and furlough, it may be permitted by the permission of district administration or prison official so authorized and designated by the state government. Undoubtedly, parole and furlough are the parts of the penal and prison system for humanizing prison administration.

The prison Act of 1894 being No.9 of 1894 has defined the furlough system and the parole system under sections 5(A) and 5(B) of the prisons Act, 1894.

 5(A) Furlough system- it means the system of releasing prisoners in jail on furlough in accordance with the rules for the time being in force. It is a matter of right. It is to be granted to the prisoner periodically irrespective reason merely to enable to retain family and social ties and avid ill- effects of continuous prison life. The period of furlough is treated as remission of sentence.

5(B) Parole system- means the system of releasing prisoners in jail on parole system, by suspension in their sentences in accordance with the rules for the time being in taking into force. it has introduced as one of the most acceptable form of correctional device in modern penology. Generally, it has been universally recognized as one of the best and most appropriate methods of treatment of offenders for their better reformation and rehabilitation of life in the normal society after the final release and also helps considerably in reducing over-crowding in prisons. A parole is perhaps more effective and popular.

As defined by J.L. Gillin, “parole is the system of release from a penal or reformative institution, of an offender who remains under the control of correctional authorities, and also in an attempt to find out whether he is fit to live in the free society without supervision.”[1]

According to another criminologist, Donald Taft, parole is a release from prison after part of the sentence has been served; the prisoner is still remaining in custody and under stated conditions until discharged and liable to return to the institution for violation of any of these conditions.[2]

To humanise the prison system, the rules enable the prisoner to obtain release and to return to the outside world foe a short prescribed period. Historically, Parole is a concept known to military law and demotes release of a prisoner with respect of justice intertwined with the evolution of changing attitudes of the society towards crime as well as criminals. Parole is generally taken as an act of grace and not as a matter of right and the convict prisoner may be released on conditions that the person is abides by the promise. It is a provisional release from confinement but is also deemed to be as a part of the imprisonment. Release on Parole is like a wing of the reformative process and is also expected to provide the better opportunity status of the prisoner. All the rules are framed by providing supervision under Parole authorities of the convicts who are going to released on Parole. Notwithstanding the intent of those measure, government, courts, parole boards, furlough granting authorities, various types police verification  procedures, and now, with the help of media, have themselves become bottlenecks to a benefits earned out of good conduct in jail. With more and more unreasonable ‘merit’ criteria are getting annexed to release with eligibilities, and undoing the very purpose of parole and furlough.

In the fabour of major relief for jail inmates, the Bombay high court has the power to rule that a prisoner who was released on parole who need not wait for a year to apply for parole again.

A prisoner can avail two options to seek the permission of temporary leave from the jail to go to visit his home-parole and furlough. the process of parole is to grant in some cases of emergencies, other furlough leave is available for them as a right to the prisoner as defined by the High Court, said by criminal lawyer Arfan Sait, who is on the high court legal aid penal. Under the rules, a prisoner who has been convicted, they can apply for parole leave for only 30 days, in case of any other type emergency in their family matters and problems. It may extend to another 60 days; Parole is usually and basically at the discretion of authorities. A furlough leave is for 14 days available to a inmate convict who has spent two years in jail and extended by another 14 days, they can apply according to their prison term every year or every two years.

 There is a case which explains the main conditions of this topic, where a prisoner who is sentenced to imprisonment in Maharashtra for a period exceeding of one year but not more than five years, as same in the case of Sanjay Dutt, may be A normal released on furlough for a period of two weeks at a time for every of an actual imprisonment.

This is right? Was sanjay Dutt his rights to seek an extension of furlough? Yes he was. While we are being told that an ADG circular has passed by the prison Department with a news in recent times that permits furlough extension in Maharashtra, it is worth knowing nothing about that it is permitted even under this amended prisons( Bombay Furlough and Parole) Rules, 1959, and it states:

“…The sanctioning authority may states that, on the application of a prisoner or otherwise, by an order in writing is going to extend the period of furlough for such further period as may be specified to accordance with such order on the same conditions on which the prisoner was a right to originally granted on furlough or on such other conditions as the main sanctioning authority which may be fixed and determined.” It concludes that furlough extensions not need such to be an obstacle race in every case. Moreover, the Rules which are on added, it is not permitted for a prisoner within a specified period of six months from the date of his return from parole extension

The Supreme Court in Smt. Poonam Lata v. Wadhawan & others[3] has clarified that parole is a grant of partial liberty or a system of lessening of restrictions to a convict prisoner, but it also release on parole does not, in any way, it changes the status of the prisoner.

In yet another case, i.e. Avtar Singh v. State of Haryana,[4] the Supreme Court observed that a general speaking, the act of granting parole is an administrative action and it is also a form of temporary release from prison custody, which generally does not suspend the sentence of the period of detention, but it provides conditional release from the prison and changes the modes of undergoing the sentence of that prisoner.

Thus, according to the above explanation, parole is not a suspension or any type of curtailment of sentence which imposed by the court, it is based on a substitution method, during continuance of parole, of lower type of punishment by confining the parole in legal custody, and under that control of warden within specified bounds outside the prison.[5]

It is significant to notice that grant of parole, which is a quasi- judicial function which is performed with the parole-board. Before allowing to be released on parole, the board has to ensure the matter about the parole has a suitable abode to live in with a satisfactory job to do. The parole officer has also the power to undertake a pre-parole orientation programme for prisoner and ready to make sure that he is well prepared in those circumstances to adjust him to normal life and at the same time the conditions outside the institution are conductive to the development of his personality.[6]

Parole distinguished from furlough

Undoubtedly, the both parole and furlough are the part of the penal and prison system for humanizing prison of administration but having different purposes. Furlough is a matter of right but parole is not so. Furlough is to be granted to the prisoner with a periodically chat of irrespective any particular reason merely to enable him to retain to family and social ties and also avoid ill-effects of continuous prison life. The period of furlough is generally treated as remission of sentence. On the other hand, parole is not a matter of right and may be denied to prisoner even when makes out such sufficient cases for release on parole if the competent authority is satisfied on valid grounds that release of a prisoner on parole would be against with the interest of society or the prison administration.

Under the provisions of section 59 of the prisons Act (9 of 1894) and Rules 4 and 6 of the prison (Bombay Furlough and Parole) Rules, 1959, the Supreme Court once brought out the distinction between the both furlough and parole in the case, State of Maharashtra and another v. Suresh Pandurang Darvekar.[7] in this case court held that underlying object of the rules which is  relating to ‘parole’ and ‘furlough’ are mentioned in  All India Jail Committee’s Report and in Model Prison Manual. These both have different purposes. It is not necessary for the state to give reasons while releasing the prisoner on furlough but in as same in the case of parole, reasons must have to be indicated. Again, in the matter of release on furlough, than it cannot be said to be an absolute right of the prisoner.


In India, courts have generally favoured with the view that the prisoners, who have been incarcerated or kept in prison for long time without trial, than should be released on parole to maintain unity of family.

In Krishanlal v. State of Delhi,[8] the Supreme Court has directly refused to accept economic necessity as a relevant factor for reducing the period of imprisonment for the forgery as an offence. The court, however, agreed that the accused could be released on parole for reasonable spells in such cases.


Penologists generally agree that the surveillance and assistance provided to the paroles must be within the framework of legal restrictions imposed as conditions of their release on parole so as to protect the society. The release of a prisoner on parole though meant for his own rehabilitation may not necessarily always be as success. Sometimes, the parolee may deviate from the conditions on which he was released. This results into parole violation and he is liable to be returned o the prison or the prison or the institution from which he was paroled out. Name as parole violators, they are denied the benefit of earning good time after their return to prison to serve the remainder or the unexpired period of their sentence.

In India, the prisons Act(IX OF 1894) provides that if any prisoner fails without sufficient cause to observe any of the conditions on which sentence was suspended or remitted to him or furlough or release on parole was granted to him, he shall be definitely deemed to have committed a prison offence under section 48-A of the Act. And this shall be proceeded against under the appropriate law for the violation.

However, Parole is a penal device seeks to humanise prison justice. The main objectives of parole technique which stated in the model prison manual are:-

  • enable the inmate to maintain continuity with family life and deal with family matters;
  • save the inmate from the problem of evil effects in continuous prison life;
  • enable the inmate to retain self-confidence with active interest in life;

The main goal should be to establish the entire system more equitable to every prisoner. This can be achieved by enhancing the rule of law within the judicial and prosecutorial rank.[9]

Undoubtedly, release of prison inmate on parole to help him in solving his socio-psychological problems and make the social rehabilitation possible for him without much difficulty. It may, therefore, be concluded that parole as a part of the after-care programme, serve a very useful purpose for the resocialisation of convicted prisoners, making them lesser risks for the society. Social readjustment of the prisoners but at the same time more conductive to manage with their mental and physical health, since it affords them an opportunity to live a free and normal life. Paroling of prisoners also relieves a normal state of its burden of expenditure on prisons to a considerable extent of life. Parole is an effective way to lead to better behaviour with including deterrence theory and some have found positive correlation between punishments and the reduction of specific misbehaviours of them. The reason for reformative system is to introduce the best way of domestic offences with other grievous offences. A way is needed to change the system to be better country.

[1] Gillin J.L.: Criminology and Penology (3rd Ed.). p. 339

[2] Taft R. Donald : Criminology (4th Ed.) p. 485

[3] AIR 1987 SC 1383.

[4] (2002) 2 SCC (Cri.) 504.

[5] State of Haryana v. Mohinder Singh, (2000) 1 JT (SC) 629.

[6] Sen P. K.: Penology Old and New (1943) p, 182.

[7] AIR 2006 SC 247.

[8] (1976) 1 SCC 655

[9] Martine L Forst: Sentencing Reform: Experiments In Reducing Disparity, p.96.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *