Section 17 – Power to Make Rules – Probation of Offenders Act

(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:—

(a) Appointment of Probation Officers, the terms and conditions of their service and the area within which they are to exercise jurisdiction;

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(b) Duties of Probation Officers under this Act and the submission of report by them;

(c) The conditions on which societies may be recognised for the purposes of clause (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 13;

(d) The payment of remuneration and expenses to Probation Officers or of a subsidy to any society which provides Probation Officers; and

(e) Any other matter which is to be, or may be, prescribed.

(3) All rules made under this section shall be subject to the condition of previous publication and shall, as soon as may be after they are made, be laid before the State Legislature.

Comment:

This section empowers the State Governments to frame their probation rules under the Probation of Offenders Act and notify them in the Official Gazette of the State. The State Government may frame rules on any of the matters enumerated in sub-section (2) of this section but such rules should not be inconsistent with any of the provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958. Any rule framed by the State which is inconsistent with the provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act would be void.

18. Saving of operation of certain enactments.—Nothing in this Act shall affect the provisions of Section 31 of the Reformatory Schools Act, 1897 (8 of 1897), or sub-section (2) of Section 5 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 (2 of 1947), [* * * * *] or of any law in force in any State relating to juvenile offenders or Borstal Schools.

Comment:

This section lays down that the provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 shall not affect the following enactment:—

(i) The Reformatory Schools Act (Section 31);

(ii) The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 [Section 5 (2)];

(iii) Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 [Section 15 (F)]

(iv) Any law relating to Borstal Schools in force in any State.

Obviously the object of this section is that the provisions of the aforesaid enactments should not be adversely affected as a result of enforcement of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958.

Analysing the scope of law relating to Probation of Offenders in the context of Section 18 of the Act, Mr. Justice Subba Rao of the Supreme Court (as he then was), inter-alia, observed:

“Generally speaking the benefit of Sections 3, 4 and 6 of the Probation of Offenders Act is a milestone in the progress of modern liberal trend of reform in the field of penology…………… it can be claimed subject to the conditions specified therein, by all offenders other than those found guilty of offences punishable with death or life imprisonment unless the provisions of the said Act are excluded by Section 18 thereof in case of offences under special Act enacted after the Probation of Offenders Act which prescribed a minimum sentence.”