HC reduces Arun Gawli’s life term, asks state to release him from jail | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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HC reduces Arun Gawli’s life term, asks state to release him from jail

Apr 06, 2024 08:28 AM IST

On Friday, a division bench of the court accepted Gawli’s petition seeking premature release under provisions of a 2006 government notification, which sanctions authority to the state government to release prisoners aged 65 years or above

NAGPUR: Former underworld don Arun Gawli, 69, is set to be released prematurely from Nagpur central jail following a directive from the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court to the state government. On Friday, a division bench of the court accepted Gawli’s petition seeking premature release under provisions of a 2006 government notification, which sanctions authority to the state government to release prisoners aged 65 years or above.

Mumbai, India - April 30, 2018: Gangster Arun Gawli arrives at Dagdi chawl for his mother funeral in Mumbai, India, on Monday, April 30, 2018. (Photo by Vijayanand Gupta/Hindustan Times) (Vijayanand Gupta/HT Photo)
Mumbai, India - April 30, 2018: Gangster Arun Gawli arrives at Dagdi chawl for his mother funeral in Mumbai, India, on Monday, April 30, 2018. (Photo by Vijayanand Gupta/Hindustan Times) (Vijayanand Gupta/HT Photo)

Known as ‘Daddy’ among his supporters, Gawli was active in Mumbai’s underworld from the 1970s to the 1990s, often engaged in bloody wars with the absconding mafia don Dawood Ibrahim’s gang. He also founded a political party, the Akhil Bharatiya Sena, in 1997 and was elected to the legislative assembly in 2004.

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In 2012, Gawli was convicted with 11 of his accomplices for the murder of Shiv Sena leader and corporator Kamlakar Jamsandekar. The special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court sentenced him to life imprisonment, which he is currently serving at the Nagpur Central Prison.

Gawli approached the high court challenging the rejection of his claim for early release as per provisions of a government notification dated January 10, 2006, which says that under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the state has the authority to release a prisoner after he/she completes 14 years of a life imprisonment sentence and/or if he or she reaches the age of 65 and above.

Through his counsel Mir Nagman Ali, Gawli informed the court that his plea for early release under the 2006 notification was rejected by the jail authorities, who deemed that a fresh notification dated December 1, 2015 excluded him from availing benefits under the 2006 notification; the 2015 notification barred those convicted under the MCOCA Act from benefits of the 2006 notification.

Gawli was further informed that even the 2006 notification barred convicts under laws like the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, etc from availing benefits of the policy. It was contended that the terminology used was ‘et cetera’, which indicated convicts under the MCOCA Act too would not be entitled to benefits by virtue of the rule of ‘ejusdem generis’ (of same kind).

However, Gawli’s counsel argued that since he was convicted in 2012, the 2015 notification should not apply to him.

The bench comprising justices Vinay Joshi and Vrushali Joshi ruled in favour of the former underworld don, saying he was entitled to benefits of the 2006 notification and could be excluded from it using the rule of ‘ejusdem generis’. The court instructed the government to make a decision on his release within four weeks of the order.

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