Parole Meaning of

In Dadu alias Tulsidas Versus State of Maharashtra [AIR 2000 SC 3203 : (2000) 8 SCC 437] the Supreme Court observed the following:

Parole is not a suspension of the sentence. The convict continues to be serving the sentence despite granting of parole under the Statute, Rules, Jail Manual or the Government Orders. “Parole” means the release of a prisoner temporarily for a special purpose before the expiry of a sentence, on the promise of good behaviour and return to jail. It is a release from jail, prison or other internment after actually been in jail serving part of sentence.

Grant of parole is essentially an Executive function to be exercised within the limits prescribed in that behalf. It would not be open to the Court to reduce the period of detention by admitting a detenu or convict on parole. Court cannot substitute the period of detention either by abridging or enlarging it. Dealing with the concept of parole and its effect on period of detention in a preventive detention matter, this Court in Poonam Lata v. M. L. Wadhawan (1987) 3 SCC 347 held:

“There is no denying of the fact that preventive detention is not punishment and the concept of serving out a sentence would not legitimately be within the purview of preventive detention. The grant of parole is essentially an executive function and instances of release of detenus on parole were literally unknown until this Court and some of the High Courts in India in recent years made orders of release on parole on humanitarian considerations. Historically ‘parole’ is a concept known to military law and denotes release of a prisoner of war on promise to return. Parole has become an integral part of the English and American systems of criminal justice intertwined with the evolution of changing attitudes of the society towards crime and criminals. As a consequence of the introduction of parole into the penal system, all fixed term sentences of imprisonment of above 18 months are subject to release on licence, that is, parole after a third of the period of sentence has been served. In those countries, parole is taken as an act of grace and not as a matter of right and the convict prisoner may be released on condition that he abides by the promise. It is a provisional release from confinement, but is deemed to be a part of the imprisonment. Release on parole is a wing of the reformative process and is expected to provide opportunity to the prisoner to transform himself into a useful citizen. Parole is thus a grant of partial liberty of lessening of restrictions to a convict prisoner, but release on parole does not change the status of the prisoner. Rules are framed providing supervision by parole authorities of the convicts released on parole and in case of failure to perform the promise, the convict released on parole is directed to surrender to custody. (See The Oxford Companion to Law, edited by Walker, 1980 Edn., p. 931; Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Edn., p. 1006; Jowitt’s Dictionary of English Law, 2nd Edn., Vol. 2, p. 1320; Kenny’s Outlines of Criminal Law, 17th Edn., pp. 574-76; the English Sentencing System by Sir Rupert Cross at pp. 31-34; 87 et seq; American JURISprudence, 2nd Edn., Vol. 59, pp. 53-61; CORPUS JURIS SECUNDUM, Vol. 67; Probation and Parole, Legal and Social Dimensions by Louis P. Carney). It follows from these authorities that parole is the release of a very long term prisoner from a penal or correctional institution after he has served a part of his sentence under the continuous custody of the State and under conditions that permit his incarceration in the event of mishebaviour.”

This position was again reiterated in State of Haryana v. Mohinder Singh (2000) 3 SCC 394.

The Constitution Bench of this Court in Sunil Fulchand Shah v. Union of India (2000) 3 SCC 409 considered the distinction between bail and parole in the context of reckoning the period which a detenu has to undergo in prison and held:

“Bail and parole have different connotation in law. Bail is well understood in criminal JURISprudence and Chapter XXXIII of the Code of Criminal Procedure contains elaborate provisions relating to grant of bail. Bail is granted to a person who has been arrested in a non-bailable offence or has been convicted of an offence after trial. The effect of granting bail is to release the accused from internment though the Court would still retain constructive control over him through the sureties. In case the accused is released on his own bond such constructive control could still be exercised through the conditions of the bond secured from him. The literal meaning of the word ‘bail’ is surety. In Halsbury’s Laws of England, 4th Edn., Vol. 11, para 166, the following observation succinctly brings out the effect of bail:

The effect of granting bail is not to set the defendant (accused) at liberty but to release him from the custody of law and to entrust him to the custody of sureties who are bound to produce him to appear at his trial at a specified time and place. The sureties may seize their principal at any time and may discharge themselves by handing him over to the custody of law and he will then be imprisoned.

‘Parole,’ however, has a different connotation than bail even though the substantial legal effect of both bail and parole may be the release of a person from detention or custody. The dictionary meaning of “parole” is:

The Concise Oxford Dictionary – (New Edition)

“The release of a prisoner temporarily for a special purpose or completely before the expiry of a sentence, on the promise of good behaviour; such a promise; a word of honour.”

Black’s Law Dictionary – (6th Edition)

“Release from jail, prison or other confinement after actually serving part of sentence. Conditional release from imprisonment which entitles paroles to serve remainder of his term outside confides of an institution, if he satisfactorily complies with all terms and conditions provided in parole order.”

According to the Law Lexicon, “Parole” has been defined as:

“A parole is a form of conditional pardon, by which the convict is released before the expiration of his term, to remain subject, during the remainder thereof, to supervision by the public authority and to return to imprisonment on violation of the condition of the parole.”

According to Words and Phrases:

“Parole” ameliorates punishment by permitting convict to serve sentence outside of prison walls, but parole does not interrupt sentence. People ex rel Rainone v. Murphy (135 NE 2d 567, 571, 1 NY 2d 367, 153 NYS 2d 21, 26).

‘Parole’ does not vacate sentence imposed, but is merely a conditional suspension of sentence. Wooden v. Goheen (Ky, 255 SW 2d 1000, 1002).

A ‘parole’ is not a ‘suspension of sentence,’ but is a substitution, during continuance of parole, of lower grade of punishment by confinement in legal custody and under control of warden within specified prison bounds outside the prison, for confinement within the prison adjudged by the Court. Jenkins v. Madigan (CA Ind, 211 F 2d 904, 906).

A ‘parole’ does not suspend or curtail the sentence originally imposed by the Court as contrasted with a ‘commutation of sentence’ which actually modifies it.”

10. Again in State of Haryana v. Nauratta Singh (2000) 3 SCC 514, it was held by this Court as under:

“Parole relates to executive action taken after the door has been closed on a convict. During parole period there is no suspension of sentence but the sentence is actually continuing to run during that period also.”

Law of Parole

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