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Home / India / Rape case: Supreme Court stays Gujarat High Court order granting two-week furlough to Narayan Sai

Rape case: Supreme Court stays Gujarat High Court order granting two-week furlough to Narayan Sai

A bench of justices issued a notice to Sai on the state government’s plea challenging the high court’s single-judge order and stayed it till further orders
Supreme Court.

PTI   |   New Delhi   |   Published 13.08.21, 12:35 AM

The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed a Gujarat High Court order granting a two-week furlough to rape convict Narayan Sai, son of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu who is also undergoing life term for another rape case in Rajasthan.     

The court, however, said it needed to examine whether the rules allowed the annual furlough on the basis of the calendar year or from 12 months after the last one was granted to a prisoner.

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A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah issued a notice to Sai on Gujarat government’s plea challenging the high court’s single-judge order and stayed it till further orders.

Solicitor-general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Gujarat government, said the single-judge order of June 24, 2021, granted furlough to Sai for two weeks but the division bench had stayed it till August 13 and therefore the state had moved the top court challenging the June 24 order.

The bench said that under the Bombay Furlough and Parole Rules, applicable in Gujarat as well, a prisoner could be granted furlough once every year after he completed seven years in jail.

“The idea of furlough is that a prisoner gets away from the environment of jail and is able to meet his family members,” the bench said and asked Mehta about the grievances with the order.

Mehta replied that under the rules and even in a judgment of this court, it had been held that furlough was not an absolute right and it depended on various factors.

He said Sai and his father wielded considerable influence with money and muscle power. Mehta said they had tried to bribe police officials, mobile phones were recovered from their cell in jail and three prime witnesses crucial to their cases were killed.

The bench said that now that he is convicted, all these contentions will not hold good as he was also granted furlough in December last year, which the state government has never challenged.

Mehta said that last year Sai was granted furlough for two weeks as he wanted to visit his ailing mother and it was purely on humanitarian grounds that the state government did not find it appropriate to challenge that order.

The bench then asked Mehta, whether during his last furlough were there any incidents of law and order situation or was there any danger to peace and tranquillity to which he replied that it is not on record.

Mehta said: “Problem now is that he is seeking furlough as a matter of right that he should be released every year on furlough.”

The bench said the point which needs examination is that under the rules it is said that a prisoner can avail furlough once every year after he serves seven years in imprisonment.

“Whether once every year means once every calendar year or once every year means since the last time he got furlough. This is the point we need to examine. We are issuing notice to the respondent (Sai),” the bench said.

It asked the counsel appearing for Sai to file his reply within a week and posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks.

On April 26, 2019, Sai was convicted under the Indian Penal Code Sections 376 (rape), 377 (unnatural offences), 323 (assault), 506(2) (criminal intimidation) and 120B (conspiracy) by a Surat court and sentenced to life imprisonment.

In 2013, after Asaram was arrested for allegedly raping a girl in Rajasthan, two Suratbased sisters had accused Asaram and his son of sexual exploitation.

The elder sister had accused Asaram of sexual assaults between 1997 and 2006 when she lived at his Ahmedabad ashram.

The younger sister had accused Sai of sexual assaults when she lived at Asaram’s ashram in the Jahangirpura area of Surat between 2002 and 2005.

Sai was arrested from the Delhi-Haryana border in December 2013.



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