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Delhi HC issues notice in a plea of convict seeking parole for 8 weeks amid COVID-19

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The Delhi High Court Justice on Monday Issued Notice to Delhi Government to sought their response on a plea filed by Vishal Yadav, currently serving life sentence in Nitish Katara Murder Case.

The petitioner herein is a convict in whose favour an order was passed on 06th February, 2015 that in case an application for parole/ remission is moved by the petitioner, then notice shall be issued to the appropriate government and shall be heard before passing any order. The petitioner herein is seeking parole for 8 weeks on ground of outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

The petitioner is relying on Supreme Court order passed in “In re: Contagion of COVID-19 in prisons” for temporary release of convicts to prevent the spread of disease and Delhi High Court Judgement passed in “Own motion vs. State” wherein the high court has done away sureties and release the under trial prisoners on bail upon furnishing a personal bond.

The petitioner has been a Tuberculosis (TB) patient and thus has a high risk of contacting the corona virus disease. Given the pathetic condition of sanitisation and overcrowding in jail the risk of contacting COVID-19 is high. The petitioner has said that during the period of parole no contact will be made with prosecution witnesses and no conditions of parole will be violated by the petitioner.

The petitioner has preferred the writ petition on the ground that despite being physically secure, jails and prisons are not isolated from the community. People continuously enter and leave, including multiple shifts of correctional staff; newly arrested, charged and sentenced individuals.  Correctional facilities remain poorly densely populated and poorly designed to prevent the rapid and widespread dissemination of the deadly virus.

The case was heard by single judge bench of Justice V. Kameswar Rao who issued notice to the government and directed to list the case on 22nd of April, 2020.

-India Legal Bureau

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