Decided to decongest jails to contain virus, govt. tells HC

Convicts to be given emergency parole, special furlough options

The AAP government told the Delhi High Court on Monday that it has decided to decongest Capital’s prisons by providing convicts with the options of emergency parole and special furlough to contain the spread of COVID-19 among inmates.

A Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad, taking note of the submission, directed the Delhi government to take necessary steps within two days to implement its decisions.

Amendment proposed

The Delhi government submitted that it is proposing to amend its prison rules to provide the options of emergency parole and special furlough in emergency situation, threats of epidemic, natural disaster or other situations which warrants immediate easing of the population of the inmates.

“However, the mechanism in respect of the same is yet to be formalised by the authorities concerned,” the government counsel said.

The government’s submission came while responding to a plea moved by two lawyers seeking to bring down the occupancy rate in the prisons in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The petitioners submitted that prisoners who can be released on furlough, parole and emergency parole may be released at the earliest.

Separate petition

A separate petition on the issue has also been moved before the High Court seeking direction to the Delhi government and prison authorities to immediately provide masks and hand sanitisers to all the inmates in Tihar jail and other jails of Delhi.

The petition filed by advocate Vikas Padora has also sought directions to spray disinfectants or quarantine the jail premises. Mr. Padora also sought to set up isolation wards in the jail premises where the infected inmate or inmate having symptoms can be lodged safely.

It has urged the court to give directions so that the spread of Coronavirus disease can be contained as much as possible in the jails across India.

“As per the data available, Tihar jail has a capacity of 5,200 inmates, but more than 12,100 inmates are currently lodged in the jail, which clearly shows that the Tihar jail is excessively overcrowded and functioning beyond its capacity,” the petition said.

“The same is the situation with most of the jails in India,” Mr. Padora added.

The petition is likely to be heard this week.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 7:27:47 PM |

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