Supreme Court Explains Fundamental Difference Between Parole And Furlough

Many have been confused about the difference between furlough and parole, both of which brings some good to the accused. The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to discuss the same and explained the fundamental differences between furlough and parole and the principles relating to grant of them. The court also referred to various precedents and explained the need for balance between two competing interests.

The bench was hearing an appeal against a judgment of the Gujarat High Court which granted two weeks’ furlough to self-proclaimed godman and rape convict Asaram’s son Narayan Sai when it made the observation. According to a bench comprising Justice BV Nagarathna, the grant of furlough is to break the monotony of imprisonment while parole is granted for the prisoner to meet a specific need. The court added that both furlough and parole envisage a short-term temporary release from custody.

Supreme Court explains Furlough vs Parole

Parole is granted for the prisoner to meet a specific exigency, while furlough may be granted after a stipulated number of years have been served without a reason. “The grant of furlough is to break the monotony of imprisonment and to enable the convict to maintain continuity with family life and integration with society. Although furlough can be claimed without a reason, the prisoner does not have an absolute legal right to claim furlough. The grant of furlough must be balanced against the public interest and can be refused to certain categories of prisoners,” the court stated.

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