The Delhi High Court on Thursday disposed of a plea seeking extension of emergency parole to prisoners above the age of 65 years as also to prisoners suffering from co-morbid medical conditions in the interest of prisoners and prison administration.
The development came after the Division Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh were informed that the Supreme Court was already seized of the matter.
The PIL has been filed by advocate Amit Sahni seeking directions to defer surrendering by ailing prisoners and prisoners above 65 years of age in the larger interest of prisoners and prison administration.
Sahni urged the Bench to either re-notify the matter or direct that ailing prisoners or prisoners above 65 years surrender only after surrendering by all other convicts or under-trial prisoners. However, the Bench refused to keep the matter pending.
The Bench stated thus, “We see no reason to entertain this writ petition at this stage. Liberty is reserved with the petitioner to move appropriate authority, in case of need.”
The plea avers that Delhi jails are overcrowded, lodging 14,000 prisoners, when the retaining capacity is limited to 10,026 prisoners only. Apart from this, there are about 4,000 prisoners, who are on interim bail or emergency parole at present.
“It is, therefore, clear that social distancing cannot be maintained as the Tihar Jail are overly crowded and in case 4,000 prisoners surrender then the situation may worsen in Tihar Jail and the same would be detrimental and adversely affect prisoners and jail administration as well,” the plea claims.
The Supreme Court, vide order dated July 16, 2021, extended emergency parole of prisoners and directed that prisoners released by States to decongest jails, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, should not be asked to surrender until further orders.