Ahmedabad, Oct 20 (ILNS) The Apex Court today has set aside the order of Gujarat High Court granting 2 weeks furlough to Rape Convict Narayan Sai, popularly known as the son of self-proclaimed Godman Asaram Bapu.
A bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice BV Nagarathna observed that furlough can be granted even without a reason once the convict has served a stipulated number of years in judicial custody. The bench added that the purpose of furlough is to allow the prisoner to continue with family life and integration in society. It was further observed that the grant of furlough is not an absolute right though granted even without a reason, the interest of the convict has to be balanced with the public interest.
“They have a mass following of persons who have loyalty to them. In view of the circumstances, we allow the appeals and set aside the interim judgment and order of the High Court”, the bench added.
The bench further observed that the proviso to Rule 3 (2) of the Bombay Furlough and Parole Rules, 1959 provides that a prisoner sentenced to life imprisonment may be released on furlough “every year” after he completed seven years of actual imprisonment.
The bench, however, said that the Jail Superintendent had given a negative opinion for the grant of furlough by elaborating that the convict was using a mobile phone within jail premises and tried to make contact with the outside world. It was further observed that threats have been issued to the investigating team and witnesses on the behest of the convict Sai, instances of bribe to public officials, etc.
The State of Gujarat had challenged the order of The Gujarat High Court wherein the convict Sai was ordered to be released on furlough for a period of 2 weeks observing that the convict has already undergone 7 years and 6 months of incarceration. The bench presided by Justice Nikhil S. Kariel further observed that in 2020 the convict was released on furlough for a period of 2 weeks by Gujarat High Court and there was nothing in the order to show that any untoward incident had taken place after the applicant had been released on furlough. The High Court contrary to what was observed by the apex court observed that no illegal activity was reported during the time the convict had been released in the month of December 2020. Though the High Court granted furlough to Sai, upon request made by the Additional Public Prosecutor, a 3 weeks stay was granted. Meanwhile, the state approached the apex court.
Godman Asaram Bapu and his son were arrested upon complaint by Two-sisters for allegedly raping them on different occasions from 1997-2006. Thereafter, multiple incidents of sexual assaults and unnatural sex were noted against the father-son. On April 26, 2019, Sai was convicted under section 376, 377, 323, 506 r/w 120-B./ILNS/KR/SNG/