The Delhi government has approached the Delhi High Court seeking direction on whether a prisoner on custody parole for several weeks or the government authorities need to bear the cost of the police contingent providing them security.
The issue cropped up in a case in which two accused were granted custody parole for two weeks by a magisterial court with a direction that the applicants shall bear the cost of travel, food and other expenses of the guards.
When the jail authorities filed an application seeking direction to the two undertrial prisoners- Rahul Gaur and his wife Navneet Kaur- the son and daughter-in-law of real estate company Gaursons Chairman, to pay Rs 10,64,055 towards the salary of the escort staff deputed during the period of custody parole, as demanded by the 3rd Battalion of Delhi Armed Police (DAP), the magisterial court directed them to pay the amount.
However, the couple challenged the order before the sessions court, which overturned the decision, after which the state government approached the high court for relief.
Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar issued notice on the plea by the authorities seeking the trial court record, examining its legality and setting aside the October 2021 order of the sessions court.
Additional Public Prosecutor Amit Sahni, representing the state, sought direction the Gaur couple to pay Rs 10,64,055 towards the expenses or salaries of guards deployed with them during their custody parole.
He said out of the total amount, Rs 6,05,617 had to be paid by Rahul Gaur and Rs 4,58,438 by his wife Navneet.
“The present petition involves a significant issue as to whether a convict /accused who availed custody parole for several weeks, has to bear the expenses of remuneration of escorting guards during the period of the said custody parole or such remuneration of the escorting guards has to be borne by the state exchequer,” Sahni submitted.
While arguing the petition, he said the matter requires larger consideration as prayers for custody parole on behalf of undertrial prisoners (UTPs) are considered by district courts beyond the normal prescribed period of six hours, as per Delhi Prison Rules, 2018.
He said there have been instances where custody parole has been granted for several weeks or months and the state exchequer is unnecessarily burdened with paying the salary of escort party/ staff deployed for such period with prisoners.
The prosecutor said there is a need for issuing direction to district courts for not granting custody parole beyond 6 hours or to grant such relief only after making the applicant deposit the cost towards the salary of the escort party.
The couple had sought custody parole for extension of visa for their daughter, conduct business meetings with prospective investors and to settle business litigation.