3 July 2021 3:01 PM GMT
The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday issued notice on a PIL seeking Covid-19 vaccination drive for prisoners across the State on an urgent basis. The plea also seeks constitution of a high level committee to monitor the spread of virus in prisons of Uttar Pradesh. A Bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice Rajendra Kumar has directed the State to file a...
The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday issued notice on a PIL seeking Covid-19 vaccination drive for prisoners across the State on an urgent basis. The plea also seeks constitution of a high level committee to monitor the spread of virus in prisons of Uttar Pradesh.
A Bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice Rajendra Kumar has directed the State to file a status report in this regard within 14 days.
"Learned Additional Advocate General is present on behalf of State-respondents. He prays for two weeks' time to submit status report in this matter. In view of above, let this petition be listed again on 16 July 2021 to enable learned Additional Advocate General to submit the status report, as fresh," the order stated.
The petition has been filed by 'Jan Mitra Nyas', a registered Trust. It claims that out of a total 72 prisons in Uttar Pradesh, nearly 63% of the prisons are currently overcrowded, which increases the chance of infection to a great extent. As a result, rapid vaccination of prisoners must be of utmost priority since many of them are house in unhygienic conditions.
The plea also mentions that the State must ensure the efficient dispersal of Covid-19 medical resources such as remdisiver injections and oxygen cylinders to safeguard the health of the prisoners. Deprivation of such vital resources constitute a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19 and 21 of the Constitution, the petitioner submitted.
The petitioner referred to Chapter XXIII of U.P. Jail Manual which prescribes a host of measures that the authorities must ensure in the wake of an epidemic such as report in case of outbreak, disinfection of barracks and clothes, cases of infection among segregated prisoners, sanitary arrangement for the camp and others. The petitioner prayed before the Court to ensure the implementation of these measures.
The plea also made a reference to the Apex Court judgement in In Re: Contagion of Covid-19 Virus in Prisons wherein the Supreme Court had advocated for the conditional release of prisoners to ensure decongestion in the wake of the pandemic.
The petitioner also contended that securing the health of the prisoners is a fundamental right under the ambit of 'public health' guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Petitioner was represented by Advocates Kamal Krishna Roy and Charlie Prakash. The matter has been listed for further hearing on 16th July.
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Case Title: Jan Mitra Nyas & Anr v. State of UP
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