The Supreme Court on Saturday has directed that a High-Powered Committees (HPC) be constituted by the State Governments to immediately release all prisoners who were granted bail/parole last year in order to decongest the prisons.
The Court was hearing a suo moto In Re: Contagion Of Covid 19 Virus In Prisons amid surge in Covid-19 cases.
A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana and comprising Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice Surya Kant stated that, “Overcrowding of prisons is a phenomenon, plaguing several countries including India. Some prisoners might not be willing to be released in view of their social background and the fear of becoming victims of the deadly virus. In such extraordinary cases, the authorities are directed to be considerate to the concerns of the inmates. The authorities are directed to ensure that proper medical facilities are provided to all prisoners who are imprisoned. The spread of Covid19 virus should be controlled in the prisons by regular testing being done of the prisoners but also the jail staff and immediate treatment should be made available to the inmates and the staff.”
Further the Court directed that those inmates who were granted parole, pursuant to Supreme Court’s earlier orders, should be again granted a parole for a period of 90 days in order to tide over the pandemic.
The Apex Court has passed slew of directions for de-congestion of prisons due to the immediate concern of the raging pandemic. The Court also directed to take appropriate steps for transportation of the released inmates of the prisons in view of the curfews and lockdown in some States.