Rejecting furlough to triple bomb blast convict Farhan Abdul Malik Khot, the Bombay High Court said prisoners convicted of serious offences cannot be released temporarily till they serve the entire sentence.
A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar rejected the application filed by Zeeshan Khot, Farhan’s brother, seeking furlough – leave of absence granted to a convict for a specified time from prison. “Prisoners who have been convicted for terrorist activities, waging war against the state and abduction for extortion are not entitled to furlough leave, unless they serve the sentence for the respective offences,” observed the HC. Zeeshan had approached the HC after the prison authorities rejected Farhan’s furlough application.
In April 2016, Farhan and nine others were convicted by the special court to try cases under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and sentenced to life imprisonment under various sections of POTA, the Indian Penal Code and Explosives Act.
NN Gawankar, Zeeshan’s advocate, argued that Farhan was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment under the POTA. He has already served the sentence. Hence, he should be released on furlough. Earlier, too, he was granted temporary bail on two occasions and he had surrendered to the prison authorities.
Public prosecutor Aruna Pai opposed the furlough application, stating that the police had given an adverse report for Farhan. If released on furlough, he could abscond.
Pai further said that the two occasions when he was released on temporary bail were when his mother passed away and when his wife met with an accident.
The prosecutor also pointed out the provisions of the Maharashtra Prisons (Mumbai Furlough and Parole) Rules, which barred the release of convicts of terrorist activities, such as blasts case, on furlough.
The HC accepted the prosecution arguments and the adverse police report. It rejected the furlough application and said, “It is also observed that in the event of release of the prisoner on furlough leave, he will abscond. We are in agreement with the said observations.”
Three bomb blasts had occurred in Mumbai between 2002 and 2003, killing 12 persons and injuring 139 persons.