In accordance with the Supreme Court order a High Powered Committee headed by Delhi High Court Judge has instructed the appropriate authority to take action with regards to release of under trial on emergency parole in view of outhbreak of Pandemic disease COVID-19 in a meeting held via Video conferencing with DG Prison, DSLSA and Home Department of Delhi Government.
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.”
The committee has decided to quarantine fresh foreign national inmates, isolation of inmates with symptoms of flu or fever, perform continues medical tests of the inmates, grant special remission to the prisoners who has been left with six months or less term of jail and release prisoners on emergency bail. The committee has however, decided to grant 8 weeks of bail to around 1500 inmates.
The Committee headed by Justice Hima Kohli, Delhi HC has also decided that the prisoners will be allowed to communicate with their family through telephone as meeting with the prisoners has been barred in view of spread of Pandemic disease COVID 19.
-India Legal Bureau