The High Powered Committee, headed by Justice Hima Kohli of the Delhi High Court, has further relaxed the criteria for release of prisoners on 'Emergency Bail'.
The said committee was constituted pursuant to the order of the Supreme Court in a suo moto matter concerning the decongestion of prisons in light of the COVID19 pandemic.
After considering the impact analysis of the proposed relaxation criteria submitted by the Director General of Prisons, the High Powered Committee observed that there's a need to further relax the criteria to give effect to the directions of the Supreme Court.
In light of the same, the Committee has proposed the following relaxations:
However, the following category of prisoners have been excluded from the benefit of emergency bail:
D.G (Prisons) has informed that on the basis of this new criterion, approximately 973 more UTPs would be the beneficiaries and their release would considerably ease out the Jail Population.
In light of the relaxed criteria, the Committee has directed DSLSA to request District Judges to pass on directions to the Jail visiting Duty Magistrates as well as Duty Magistrates in courts to take up these applications and if the under trial prisoners are released on bail, they may be released on 'Personal Bond', to the satisfaction of Jail Superintendent, so as to implement the social distancing policy of the Government.
The sureties of prisoners released by Magistrates have been modified to 'Personal Bond', as due to the nationwide lockdown , these prisoners were incapacitated to furnish sureties.
'Owing to this restricted movement such UTPs despite being granted bail are languishing in jail for not being able to produce and furnish "Surety Bond". Committee is of the opinion that bail orders qua such UTPs are required to be modified through a Judicial Order', the Committee noted.
On the issue of implementing these directions in the Juvenile Homes, the Committee has directed DSLSA to ensure that the Retainer Counsels of DSLSA attached with Juvenile Justice Board and Child Welfare Committees to provide necessary assistance to JJBs and CWCs in implementation of directions given by the Supreme Court.
However, the Committee expressed deep disappointment and displeasure for non implementation of its previous direction on remission of sentence to the convicts.
DG (Prisons), after taking note of the Committee's concern, assured the same that action will be taken within 2-3 days of receiving the orders from the Delhi Government.