The Election Commission of India (ECI) has directed states that parole should be granted to imprisoned convicts during the ongoing poll season only in cases of “extreme emergency”, and it should be ensured that they do not participate in election-related affairs.
The commission has also made a special reference for the grant of parole to drug offenders, saying this should be “strictly prohibited”, and in case they are granted this leave from jail under special circumstances, police and anti-narcotics sleuths should be informed in advance.
“…the model code of conduct shall apply in cases of release of convicts on parole. If state government considers that release of any convict on parole is absolutely essential for certain compelling reasons, in that case, state government shall consult the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) concerned before granting parole,” the EC said in the latest communication sent to chief secretaries of all states and Union Territories.
It added that parole should be given in cases of “extreme emergency and it should be ensured that they do not indulge in any election related activities”.
“However, if grant of parole to such (drug crime accused) offenders becomes necessary for certain reasons, then advance intimation shall be given to police and drug law enforcement agencies, including the NCB (narcotics control bureau) zonal units, so that a watch on their activities may be kept,” the EC said.
If such a person is found indulging in any objectionable activity, his parole “should be cancelled forthwith”, the EC communication said.
“The district election officers (DEOs) shall also apprise the observers of the constituencies concerned about the release of convicts on parole, if any,” it said.
The seven-phase Lok Sabha polls began on April 11 and the last round of voting will be held on May 19. Counting of votes will be done on May 23.