Delhi HC seeks response from Centre over PIL to release inmates from jails to curb Covid spread

Jail Law Insider
Jail Law Insider

Sakshi Chhabra

The Delhi high court on Wednesday sought the response of the Centre. A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh of the Delhi High court called for response from the Delhi government and the prison authorities on a plea seeking parole of prisoners involved in non-heinous crimes from three jails in the city in view of the unprecedented surge in Covid-19 cases.

The Delhi High court issued notice in a Public Interest Litigation seeking temporary release of inmates of jail in the city in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

The petitioners are three lawyers and a law student: Adv. Shobha Gupta, Adv. Ajay Verma, Adv. Ayushi Nagar and law student Sankritit Gupta.

Further Adv. Ajay Verma appearing for petitioner pointed out the necessity for releasing the jail inmates as the cases of covid-19 in the jail are rising, he further informed the court that 190 inmates and 304 prison staff of Tihar jail tested positive for Covid-19 and the infection has spread across the prison.

The petition states that the total number of inmates as on 7 April is 17,285 as against a total capacity of 10,026 in the three jails of Tihar, Mandoli and Rohini.

The plea requests for decongestion of the prisons is necessary as they are filled much beyond their capacity. It points out that the Prison statistics’ data by the National Crime Record Bureau shows that the prisons in Delhi are the most over-crowded in the whole country.

Highlighting that the present COVID-19 wave was more dangerous and spreads faster, the Petitioners have stated that overcrowding was an endemic crisis of its own in prisons.

The petition have urged for immediate release of all the under trials and convicted prisoners on interim bail/parole with maximum imprisonment upto 7 years and prisoners of non-heinous crime in Tihar, Mandoli and Rohini Jail.

Also, the release of those prisoners who have been released before and those who have surrendered on the basis of good conduct and those who are suffering from any sort of ailment.

It is also prayed that the police be directed to not arrest accused persons not involved in violent crimes without the order of the court.

The matter will be heard next on May 4.

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