The Supreme Court has today extended the release of prisoners released on parole to decongest jails in view of the Covid-19 pandemic till further orders while stating that that the High-Powered Committees are not following uniform criteria.
A special bench of the Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice A.S. Bopanna noted, “We, the amicus and all others are not aware of the guidelines being followed by the High-Powered Committee (HPC).”
The bench was hearing a suo motu plea initiated by the court to contain the spread of Covid-19 in prisons. Today the matter was taken up by the bench on an IA filed by advocate Shoeb Alam to consider the remission plea of prisoners.
Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appointed Amicus Curiae in the matter, submitted, “Milords, we don’t have any idea about the respective HPC guidelines”, to which the Chief Justice also said, “That is exactly what I have to say… there is no uniform criteria followed, like Haryana and another state has only taken under consideration the age and etc. and all other states have not taken these into consideration.”
Dave also submitted, “In the wake of impending third wave, should we wait for some instructions from the Union of India, SG may assist. Otherwise we’ll send them back to the jail and then leave them again.”
However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that as far as the extension of release is concerned they do not have any objection. The Bench has directed the Secretary of the National State Service Authority to submit state-wise criteria being followed by states for the release of the prisoners.
The bench while listing the matter for further hearing on August 3 has further directed the Secretary to collect information from all the states and submit a report.