Decongesting prisons: 636 undertrials granted temporary bail in Karnataka

Published - April 07, 2020 08:16 pm IST - Bengaluru

The State government on Tuesday told the High Court of Karnataka that 636 undertrials had been released on temporary bail as on April 5 by securing orders from the jurisdictional courts. This has been done to decongest prisons during the COVID-19 outbreak, as per the directions of the apex court and the guidelines laid down by the high-powered committee headed by the executive chairperson of Karnataka State Legal Services Authority.

Of the 636 prisoners, 613 have already left prison, either in police or prison vehicles, to their homes, the government said in its statement. The High Court had directed the authorities to ensure that all released prisoners safely reach their residences when public transport is not available.

The government also told the court that 1,379 prisoners have been identified for release on parole and 14 have already left prison. However, 215 of them have declined to go out on parole.

A special Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice B.V. Nagarathna considered the statement during a hearing, through videoconferencing, of PIL petitions on issues that have arisen following the imposition of the lockdown.

The Bench directed the prison authorities to make available to prisoners the facility of e-filing of pleas for release on bail.

Death penalty cases

The Bench also asked the Additional Advocate General to consult the Public Prosecutor and the advocates representing convicts facing the death penalty on the possibility of taking up hearing of these cases through videoconferencing. Some of the 10 death penalty cases were scheduled for regular hearing in March and April.

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