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High Powered Committee Of Delhi High Court Submits Report On Release Of Prisoners, Remission Of Sentence, Emergency Parole Etc

Nupur Thapliyal
7 May 2021 5:31 AM GMT
High Powered Committee Of Delhi High Court Submits Report On Release Of Prisoners, Remission Of Sentence, Emergency Parole Etc
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“Right To Life Unconditionally Embraces Even Undertrial, Convict Walled Off From Society”: High Powered Committee Of Delhi HC Meets To Discuss Covid Situation In Jails, Release On Interim Bails, Paroles

In view of the recent surge in covid 19 cases, the High Powered Committee of the Delhi High Court had met on Tuesday for discussing affirmative and effective steps to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19 inside jails and for ensuring social distancing inside prisons by identifying and determining the class or categories of prisoners who can once again be released on interim bails or...

In view of the recent surge in covid 19 cases, the High Powered Committee of the Delhi High Court had met on Tuesday for discussing affirmative and effective steps to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19 inside jails and for ensuring social distancing inside prisons by identifying and determining the class or categories of prisoners who can once again be released on interim bails or paroles.

The High Powered Committee under the Chairpersonship of Justice Vipin Sanghi was constituted last year for determining the covid conditions inside the jail premises.

During the course of the meeting, Kanwal Jeet Arora, Member Secretary, DSLSA, apprised the Committee about PILs filed in the Delhi High Court seeking directions to the Committee for laying down the criteria to release the UTPs on interim bail and also to decongest jails in view of second covid wave.

Observing that "Right to Life under Article 21 is the most precious Fundamental Right of every citizen of India and that it unconditionally embraces even an undertrial/convict walled off from the society", the High Powered Committee discussed the following issues:

On Prevention, Screening, Identification and Treatment of Prisoners, Jail Saff

The Committee was informed by the DG Prisons that total 249 inmates were found positive inside Jails and that Jail Administration is taking extra precautions with respect to inmates who are more than 55 years of age, so that they are not 'immuno-compromised'. It was further informed that rapid tests are being conducted inside jails as per ICMR guidelines including 'thermal screening' of the jail staff.

In view of this, the Committee suggested that the jail staff as well as inmates be directed and provided with double masking i.e. one surgical mask and one cloth mask.

On the aspect of isolation cells and temporary jails, it was decided thus:

"In an eventuality of UTPs/Convicts surrendering in Delhi jails or sent after arrest, pursuant to any order passed by the Court of Law, the Chair suggested that all such UTPs/Convicts may be housed initially for a period of 14 days in the Temporary Jail before sending them in the concerned Jail. D.G. (Prisons) assured the Hon'ble Chair to comply with this suggestion. It is made clear that fresh male inmates who are between 18 to 21 years of age and fresh women inmates shall continue to be kept in separate "Isolation Cells" at Jail No.5 and 6 respectively at Tihar and Jail No.16 Mandoli, in terms of the earlier resolution."

The DG Prisons also apprised the Court that wearing of Mask by the jail staff has been made mandatory and they have been cautioned to maintain social distancing while interacting with the inmates. He assured that from now onwards jail staff shall have double masking at all time while interacting with inmates.

On Vaccination of Jail Inmates, Jail Staff

It was informed by the DG Prisoners that the jail staff was declared "Front Line Workers" and thus was directed to be vaccinated in the First Phase of Vaccine Drive against COVID-19.

"Members of the Committee have deliberated upon this issue and have resolved that all the jail inmates as well as jail staff are required to be vaccinated at the earliest so that the spread of COVID-19 inside the jail premises can be curtailed." The Committee resolved.

On Determination of Class of Persons to be Released on Interim Bail towards Decongestion of Jails

Noting that there is an emergent requirement of identifying class/category of prisoners who can be released on interim bail/emergency parole, the Committee deliberated on the following category of prisoners who can be released:

- Inmates undergoing Civil Imprisonment

- Under trial prisoners (UTPs) who are facing trial in a case which prescribes a maximum sentence of 7 years or less wherein he/she is in custody for a period of 15 days or more

- Under trial prisoners (UTPs)/Remand Prisoners (with respect to whom, Charge sheets are yet to be filed), who are in custody for 15 days or more, facing trial in a case which prescribes a maximum sentence of 7 years or less

- Under trial prisoners (UTPs), who are senior citizens more than 60 years of age and are in custody for three months or more, facing trial in a case which prescribes a maximum sentence of 10 years or less

- Under trial prisoners (UTPs), who are less than 60 years of age and are in custody for six months or more, facing trial in a case which prescribes a maximum sentence of 10 years or less; subject to the condition that he should not be involved in any other case which prescribes punishment of more than 7 years

- Under trial prisoners (UTPs), who are suffering from HIV, Cancer, Chronic Kidney Dysfunction(UTPs requiring Dialysis), Hepatitis B or C, Asthma, and TB and are in custody, facing trial in a case which prescribes a maximum sentence of 10 years or less and are not involved in multiple cases

- Under trial prisoners (UTPs) who are suffering from HIV, Cancer, Chronic Kidney Dysfunction (UTPs requiring Dialysis), Hepatitis B or C, Asthma, and TB and are in custody for a period of three months or more and facing trial in a case which prescribes punishment of 10 years upto life imprisonment and are not involved in multiple cases

- Under trial prisoners (UTPs) facing trial for offence under Section 304 IPC and are in jail for more than six months with no involvement in any other case

- Under trial prisoners (UTPs) facing trial in a case under Section 307 IPC and are in jail for more than six months; subject to the condition that he should not be involved in any other case which prescribes punishment of more than 7 years

- Under trial prisoners (UTPs) (who are related as spouse of the deceased) facing trial for a case under 304B IPC and are in jail for more than one year with no involvement in any other case

- Under trial prisoners (UTPs) (who are related as father-in-law, mother-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law of the deceased) facing trial for offence under Section 304B IPC and are in jail for more than six years with no involvement in any other case

Furthermore, on the aspect of decongestion of jails, the Committee suggested that the Commissioner of Police may ensure compliance of Arnesh Kumar Jugdment's guidelines and the DSLSA may be directed to conduct sensitization programs of senior police officers online.

Click Here To Read Minutes

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