The Delhi High Court on Monday sought response from the Delhi government over a petition filed by a life term convict seeking direction to the government for ensuring Covid-19 vaccination for jail staff, security persons, and all prisoners lodged in the jails of the capital.
A division bench of the high court presided over by Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice to the Delhi government and slated the matter for further hearing on March 26.
Earlier, a single judge bench of the high court had transferred the said petition filed by Sharda Jain through advocate Amit Sahni to the division bench noting that the matter is in “public interest”.
The bench was also informed by the public prosecutor that a similar matter regarding the vaccination of prisoners is also pending before the concerned division bench. Sharda Jain, a woman life convict aged 63 years and having undergone about 13 years and 11 months, approached the court seeking vaccination of jail staff, jail security personnel and the prisoners, especially those who are out on bail.
“Delhi jails are overcrowded by 80% and have capacity to retain 10,026 prisoners and at present about 18,000 prisoners are lodged in Delhi (including 4,000 prisoners who were released on interim bail/emergency parole),”
-the plea filed through Advocate Amit Sahni said.
“It is, therefore, clear that social distancing cannot be maintained in Delhi jails due to overcrowding and situation may worsen in Tihar Jails in case all prisoners surrender,” the plea said further. The plea further states that the prisoners lodged in jails always hope and pray to lead a normal, healthy and peaceful life after undergoing sentence awarded by the Court.
“The state has an obligation to preserve life whether he is an innocent person or criminal liable to punishment under the law. With specific reference to health, the right to conditions, adequate for the health and well-being of all, was already recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) furthermore states that the prisoners have a right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,”
-the petition said.