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A High Powered Committee in the State of Uttar Pradesh has suggested the class of detainees that might be discharged on parole, so as to de-clog penitentiaries considering the COVID-19 pandemic, following the recommendations of the Supreme Court.

On 23rd March 2020, the Apex Court bench headed by the Hon’ble Chief Justice S. A. Bobde, Justice L. Nageswara Rao & Justice Surya Kant passed a slew of directions “In Re: Contagion of COVID 19 Virus in Prisons”, for dealing with the health crisis arising out of Corona Virus (COVID-19) with regard to the Prisons and Remand Homes. Supreme Court had directed that, “each State/Union Territory shall constitute a High Powered Committee comprising of (i) Chairman of the State Legal Services Committee, (ii) the Principal Secretary (Home/Prisons) by whatever designation is known as, (iii) Director General of Prisons, to consider the release of Prisoners who have been convicted or are undertrial for offences for which the prescribed punishment is up to 07 years or less.”

In compliance with the orders of Supreme Court a High Powered Committee has been constituted comprising of Executive Chairman, UPSLSA; Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Govt. of Uttar Pradesh and D.G.P. (Prisons) Uttar Pradesh for considering the issue of overcrowding in Prisons, in the present context of the Pandemic of Corona Virus (COVID-19), to determine the category of prisoners to be released on Parole or Interim Bail.

High Powered Committee in a meeting resolved that, following category of Undertrial prisoners (except the prisoners who are Foreign Nationals) may be released on Interim Bail.

under-trial prisoners facing criminal cases in which maximum sentence are 07 years and presently confined in jails may be released on interim bail for 08 weeks by the Sessions Court, Additional Sessions Court or the Chief Judicial Magistrate including other Judicial Magistrates, as the case may be, on furnishing personal bond with the undertaking written on the personal bond itself that he/she shall surrender before the Court after expiry of the interim bail period. Other conditions may be imposed by the Court if it thinks fit, considering the circumstances of the case…

The grant of interim bail may be done by visiting the jails, on alternate days, by the Sessions Judge/Additional Sessions Judge/Chief Judicial Magistrate/Other Judicial Magistrates as the case may be, on the bail applications at the jail itself and it shall be done forthwith. For drafting bail applications, to be moved by under trial prisoners, assistance and services of prison officers, jail staff, jail Para Legal Volunteers (PLVs) and Panel Lawyers empanelled with the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) may be utilized under intimation to the Secretary, DLSA of the concerned district. For this purpose, passes shall be issued to the Judges/Magistrates and panel lawyers during lock down period by the District Administration…

The Undertrial Review Committee contemplated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Re Inhuman Conditions in 1382 prisons, (2016) 3 SCC 700, shall meet every week and take such decisions in consultation with the concerned district authority as per the said judgment…

Jail Superintendent shall be in continuous touch with concerned Secretary, District Legal Services Authority regarding disposal of interim Bail application moved by the undertrial prisoners so that proper arrangements may be made…

The information regarding number of parole granted and Interim Bail applications moved and decided in a day, shall be communicated to the “State Level Monitoring Team” on the next day and also be displayed on the official website of the Prison, i.e. igprisons-up@nic.in as well as on Whatsapp No. 9792799707 of Sri Bhagirath Verma, OSD, UPSLSA…”

-India Legal Bureau

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