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Interpreting the Prison rules, the Bombay High Court has held that ‘grandmother’ would fall in the category of a close relative, and accordingly ordered release of a prisoner from Amravati jail on parole to enable him attend to the rituals of his elder who had passed away.

The Nagpur bench of the High Court noted in a recent order that the relatives enumerated in Rule 19 of of the Prisons (Bombay Furlough and Parole) Rules, 1959, are illustrative in nature and not exhaustive.

“That being so, person of the category or class described in the Rule would also be covered by the description of nearest relative mentioned in Rule 19 though not specifically mentioned therein”, observed Justice P V Hardas and Justice A B Chaudhari.

“In the instant case, the petitioner has claimed parole for the reason of death of his grandmother. Applying the above canon of interpretation, grandmother would also form the part and parcel of the said class of nearest relative.

Therefore, looking to the illustrative nature of the said terminology, we hold that even the grandmother would be included in the said expression”, the judges remarked.

Counsel for the petitioner, S D Chande, argued that the petitioner is entitled to be released on parole since his grandmother had expired and he is required to attend the rituals. He relied on Rule 19 of the Prisons (Bombay Furlough and Parole) Rules, in support of his submissions.

R S Nayak, Additional Public Prosecutor, opposed the petition saying the list of the relatives mentioned in Rule 19 cannot be stretched to mean that even the grandmother of the prisoner would be included in the said expression.

Rule 19 says, “a prisoner may be released on parole for such period not exceeding 30 days at a time as the Competent Authority referred to in Rule 18 in its discretion may order, in cases of serious illness or death of nearest relatives such as father, mother, brother, sister, spouse, children or marriage of brother, sister and children of the prisoner or pregnant woman prisoner for delivery (except high security risk prisoner) or in case of natural calamity such as house collapse, floods, fire and earthquake”.


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