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Plea In Delhi High Court Seeks Covid-19 Vaccination For All Undertrial Prisoners Who Were Out On Bail

Shreya Agarwal
12 Feb 2021 8:55 AM GMT
Plea In Delhi High Court Seeks Covid-19 Vaccination For All Undertrial Prisoners Who Were Out On Bail
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A public interest litigation has been filed before the Delhi High Court seeking directions to the Delhi High-Powered Committee (HPC), which last assembled on 14.01.2021, to take appropriate measures for the vaccination of under-trial prisoners (UTPs) and convicts who were granted interim bail in the wake of the Covid-19 contagion, in terms of the criteria set by a Division Bench of the Delhi...

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A public interest litigation has been filed before the Delhi High Court seeking directions to the Delhi High-Powered Committee (HPC), which last assembled on 14.01.2021, to take appropriate measures for the vaccination of under-trial prisoners (UTPs) and convicts who were granted interim bail in the wake of the Covid-19 contagion, in terms of the criteria set by a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court vide order dated 23.03.2020.

In accordance with a Supreme Court order, a High Powered Committee (HPC) headed by a Delhi High Court Judge had in March, 2020, instructed the appropriate authority to take action with regards to release of under trial prisoners on emergency parole in view of the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country.
The plea, filed by Advocates Abhilasha Shrawat, Prabhash, Kartik Malhotra and Manav Narula states that 5123 UTPs / convicts had been released on interim bail / parole / remission of sentence till 09.01.2021 as part of the decongestion effort under the aegis of the HPC. The petition further states that as on 14.01.2021, against the total capacity of 10,026 of the Delhi Prisons, 16,396 inmates were already there in these prisons. Further, as per the information with respect to the last HPC meeting dated 14.01.2021, additional accommodation for 2000 inmates was provided for in a newly created temporary jail.
On perusing the data available, the petitioners state that it was clearly reflected that the space required for maintaining social distancing was not available in the prison, and the vaccination drive commenced by the Government of India on 16.01.2021 post the HPC meeting dated 14.01.2021, had not considered the induction of the undertrial prisoners in the vaccination drive.
It has also been pointed out in the petition that the HPC's latest resolution recommends not to extend the emergency parole of convicts on the ground of Covid-19, and therefore, all prisoners out on interim bail had also been directed to surrender.
Therefore, the plea states, that in the backdrop of the actual holding capacity of Delhi Prison, the present occupancy, and the number of UTP'S who are likely to surrender on their respective dates and the period of 14 days for keeping them in isolation cells before sending them to regular jail, "it is incumbent for Central and Delhi Government to arrange and facilitate Covid-19 vaccination to all prisoners who were out on bail / emergency parole or furlough to curtail the transmission of the virus from outside to prisons or detention centres to locations."
It has therefore been prayed that the Centre and Delhi Governments be directed to arrange and facilitate Covid-19 vaccination to all prisoners who were out on bail; and to issue an appropriate writ to grant the extension of interim bail to prisoners after taking into consideration the entire facts and circumstances of the petition.


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