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Covid-19: Supreme Court tells Kerala government not to insist on prisoners to surrender

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the State of Kerala to not insist the prisoners already released on interim bail or parole to surrender when the State is witnessing a surge in the cases of Covid-19. 

A Bench comprising Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice BR Gavai passed the order on  a batch of petitions filed against the State of Kerala for insisting prisoners, who were released by the State Government on parole or interim bail in the wake of Covid-19, to surrender. 

The Court asked the State of Kerala to examine the Covid-19 situation in the jail and consider releasing the prisoners who are still in prison, for the time being.
The Apex Court, in  a suo motu writ petition, was considering the issue of overcrowding in prisons, especially in the wake of the pandemic and issued notice to the concerned State authorities to show cause as to why directions should not be issued for dealing with the health crisis arising out of Covid-19 in the prisons.
On March 23, 2020, the Apex Court had directed the States/Union Territories to constitute a High-Powered Committee to determine which class of prisoners can be released on parole or interim bail. After overall scrutiny the committee was to determine the category of prisoners who could be released.

Senior Advocate, P.V. Surendranath, appearing on behalf of the State of Kerala, assured the Bench to consider the suggestions put forth by it, but he protested the allegation that the directions to surrender were issued in the teeth of the orders of the Apex court.

The matter will be considered after two weeks.

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