Parole in India

Law Criminal Law

In India, Parole is a significant part of the criminal judicial system. It simply refers to a prisoner’s temporary or permanent release before the end of his/her sentence in exchange for good behavior during the course of their punishment. It is a way by which prisoners are given a chance to get back their social and normal life. However, nowadays it has become a way through which wealthy people make their way out of jail or imprisonment.

History of Parole

The history of parole in India can be traced back to the French phrase ‘je donne ma parole’ which translates to ‘I give my word’. It was initially offered to prisoners of war to live with their families for a temporary period, under the promise to return when the said period was over. In the landmark case of Charanjit Lal v. State of Delhi, the main goals of parole have been derived as deterrence, prevention, retribution, and reformation.

Goal and Objectives of Parole

The main objective or goal of parole in India is to grant some relief to the prisoners. It can be granted for the following reasons:

  • If the prisoner or any of his family members is severely ill/dead;
  • The marriage of the prisoner, his son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, brother, sister, etc;
  • When the temporary release of the prisoner is necessary for ploughing, sowing or harvesting, or carrying out any agricultural profession or his father’s undivided land is actually in possession of the prisoner;
  • When it is desirable to do so for any other sufficient cause.

According to the 2010 Parole/Furlough Guidelines, the following requirements must be fulfilled to become eligible for parole:

  • A convict must have served at least 1 year in jail, excluding any time spent for remission.
  • The prisoner must have good behavior during the course of the punishment.
  • The convict should not have committed any crimes during the period of parole if it was granted previously.
  • The convict should not have broken any rules or regulations in his previous parole.
  • A minimum of 6 months should have passed since the previous parole was terminated.

Types of Parole in India

There are mainly two types of parole in India: 

  1. Custody Parole
  2. Regular Parol

What is Custody Parole?

This type of parole is granted to prisoners who are not eligible for regular parole or furlough, i.e., come under trial prisoners categories. According to Rule 1203 of the Delhi Prison Rules 2018, parole may be granted to the criminal by an order in writing, issued by the Superintendent of the Prison and to the under-trial prisoners by the trial court concerned, for a period of not more than 6 hours. This is granted in the following eventualities:

  • Death of a family member
  • Marriage of a family member
  • Serious illness of a family member
  • Any other emergency circumstances with the approval of DIG (Range) prisons.

According to the rules, it is clear that under-trial prisoners can only be granted custody parole for a period limited to 6 hours. In the case of the Election Commission of India v. Mukhtar Ansuri, the Hon’ble court confirmed that custody parole is not a substitute for a grant of bail and cannot be extended for a longer period of time or daily.

What is Regular Parole?

This type of parole is granted on the following grounds:

  • Serious illness to a family member
  • Critical conditions in the family on account of death or accident
  • Marriage of a family member or convict
  • Delivery of the wife of the convict if there is no one else in the house
  • Serious damage to life or property of family members caused by natural calamities
  • To maintain family and social ties
  • To pursue the filing of a Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court against any judgment passed by the lower courts. 

Laws on Parole in India

It is important to note that there is no uniform legislation for granting parole in India. Each state has its own set of parole guidelines, which may differ from one to another. Prisons Act, 1894 and the Prisoners Act, 1900 are the main legislation that governs prison rules and laws in India. The Act has empowered the State Government under Section 59 (5) of the Prisons Act, 1894 to enact regulations for the management of prisons. Since ‘prisons’ fall under the State List of the 7th schedule of the Constitution, the state government may enact laws for the regulation of prisons. 

The Prisons (Bombay Furlough and Parole) Rules, 1959 which applies to Maharashtra and Goa is the governing legislation for the grant of parole. It lays down the requirements, eligibility, process, and penalties for defaulting on parole in India.

Application for Parole in India

The 2010 Parole/Furlough guidelines lay down the process for parole in the following manner. Application for the grant of parole can be sent by the convict himself or on an application made by his relatives/friends/lawyer to the superintendent of jail. The application should include:

  • The name of the applicant
  • Name of the father of the applicant
  • Address of the applicant
  • In case the application is submitted by a friend/relative/lawyer, the details of the relationship with the convict
  • Family details are known of the convict known to the applicant  
  • Last confirmed address of the convict
  • Reasons for seeking parole

The Superintendent must record the application in the parole register and verify the details in an oral interview. This report will be shared with the divisional police station to conduct a fair inquiry. If the reason for the parole is a medical emergency, the medical reports are verified to prove the authenticity of the application. After the preliminary verification, the application is then sent to the competent authorities to sanction the release.

The Prisons (Bombay Furlough and Parole) Rules, 1959 lists the authorities competent to sanction the release of the convicted prisoner on parole in Maharashtra.

  1. The State Government- (a) Prisoners convicted outside of Maharashtra. (b) Prisoners convicted within the State but confined outside the State (c) Prisoners convicted for political offenses (d) any other specialized class of case.
  2.   The Commissioner of the Division- They can authorize the parole in the division of the convicted criminal when the Divisional Commissioner is out of headquarters.
  3. Superintendent of Police- They can authorize for a maximum duration of 15 days in case of a death of a close family member i.e., father, mother, brother, sister spouse, or child.

Parole Violation and Penalty

According to Section 224 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, a convict who overstays parole or does not return to prison within the stipulated time is liable for imprisonment which may extend up to 2 years/fine and/or both. The 2010 guidelines also state that all remissions earned by the convict will be forfeited.

You Might be Intrested in: Differeance between Probation and Parole


In India, parole is not recognized as a right of an individual and is not absolute but it is considered a right by many international organizations to which India is a party. Parole is like a suspension of imprisonment for a temporary period and should not be confused with bail. In current scenarios, it is critical to amend the laws of parole in India to bring reform and uniformity to the laws of parole.


Who can grant parole in India?

The state government has the right to grant parole in India but the application is received by the Superintendent of the jail authority who then forwards it to the police station where the applicant is arrested.  

Can parole be granted in case of illness of wife in India?

Yes, the medical emergency of any family member is an eligible ground to file an application for parole in India.  

How long does parole last in India?

In India, parole lasts for one month whereas furlough lasts for a maximum of 14 days. 

How can parole be improved in India?

Parole can be improved by bringing in regular and uniform laws for parole under various provisions of the law in India.

How is the parole board constitution in India?

The parole board is constituted by the State Government consisting of parole administrators

Under what conditions parole is granted in India?

Following are the conditions under which parole is granted to the applicant in India:

  1. Death of a family member
  2. Marriage of a family member
  3. Serious illness of a family member
  4. Any other emergency circumstances with the approval of DIG (Range) prisons