No further parole to rape convict Ram Rahim without its permission: High Court to Haryana govt

PTI, Mar 1, 2024, 12:30 PM IST

Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday asked the Haryana government not to grant further parole to Dera Sacha Sauda chief and rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh without its permission.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice GS Sandhawalia and Justice Lapita Banerji was hearing a petition of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee which had challenged the grant of temporary release to the Dera Sacha Sauda chief.

Gurmeet Singh was granted a 50-day parole on January 19. The parole came two months after the Sirsa-headquartered sect chief walked out of the Sunaria jail in Haryana’s Rohtak district on November 21 last year after he was granted a 21-day furlough which was his third temporary release from jail in 2023.

Singh is serving a 20-year jail term for raping two of his disciples. In 2021, the Dera chief, along with four others, was also convicted for hatching a conspiracy to kill Ranjit Singh, a Dera manager.

The Dera chief and three others were convicted in 2019 for the murder of a journalist more than 16 years ago.

The court in its order said, “In the meantime, the said respondent may surrender on the date fixed i.e. 10.03.2024 and thereafter the State authorities shall not consider his case for grant of further parole till further orders without the permission of this Court.”

The state of Haryana shall also file necessary custody certificate to the effect that the said respondent has surrendered on the date fixed, according to the order.

The court also directed the state government to furnish detail on how many people having “such criminal antecedent” have been granted parole.

“We would like the State of Haryana to furnish an affidavit as to how many persons having such criminal antecedents and sentenced in three cases have been granted this benefit. Let a necessary affidavit be filed before the next date of hearing,” said the court.

The court fixed March 11 as the next date of hearing in the matter.

On the details of temporary release granted to the Dera chief, the court said, “The same makes interesting reading keeping in view the background and the antecedents of respondent No. 9, who has conviction in three cases against him, has been released for 91 days each in the years 2022 and 2023.”

It added, “It is also to be noticed that in spite of the pendency of the present petition in which notice of motion was issued on 29.01.2023, the State of Haryana has still chosen to grant him indulgence of parole again on 20.07.2023, 21.11.2023 and 19.01.2024 for a period of 30, 21 and 50 days. At present, the said respondent is also on parole up to 10.03.2024.”

The Dera chief had earlier walked out of the Sunaria jail on a 30-day parole on July 30, 2023.

He had been granted a 40-day parole in January last year. In October 2022 too, he was granted a 40-day parole.

Prior to his October parole, he had come out of the prison on a month-long parole in June 2022. Besides, he was granted a three weeks’ furlough from February 7, 2022.

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