Granting frequent parole to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh may lead to law and order problems in Punjab, the state government has told the high court, PTI reported on Saturday.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court is hearing a petition filed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee seeking the quashing of an order of the Rohtak divisional commissioner which had granted 40-day parole to Singh on January 20.

Singh was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in 2017 for raping two of his women disciples at the Dera headquarters in the Sirsa district. In 2021, he and four others were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the murder case of Ranjit Singh, a former manager of his sect.

He walked out of the Sunaria prison in Rohtak district on January 21. This was the fourth time since last year that the Dera chief has been allowed to be out on parole. His last parole had ended on November 25.

In June, the sect leader was released on month-long parole ahead of the Sangrur bye-election in Punjab. In February, he was granted a 21-day furlough ahead of the Punjab Assembly elections.

A prisoner is granted parole based on an urgent demand or need, a furlough can be given without any reason after serving a stipulated amount of time in prison.

In its response before the high court, the Punjab government said that Singh was granted parole without any cogent reason, reported The Indian Express.

“A person who has been found to be guilty in three separate cases involving heinous crime and sentenced to imprisonment does not deserve any indulgence by the state authorities,” the state government said in its response.

The stance of the Punjab government is in contrast to the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Haryana government in the case.

Supporting parole for Singh, the Haryana government on March 1 had said that the Dera Sacha Sauda chief does not fall under the definition of a hardcore prisoner and cannot be termed a serial killer, according to PTI.

“His conviction in two different murder cases cannot be termed ‘serial killings’ as he was not an assailant and had not executed the actual murders,” it said.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had also said that he will not interfere with the parole granted to Singh.