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HPC Extends Interim Bail Of Those UTPs Who Were Released As Per Its Criteria, Others To Surrender As Per Delhi High Court Order

Karan Tripathi
26 Oct 2020 2:54 PM GMT
HPC Extends Interim Bail Of Those UTPs Who Were Released As Per Its Criteria, Others To Surrender As Per Delhi High Court Order
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The High Powered Committee has extended till December the interim bail of those undertrial prisoners (UTPs) who were released as per the criteria set out by the committee. Other UTPs, who were released on bail by the order of court, will have to surrender as per the timeline set by the Special Bench of the Delhi High Court in a suo moto matter. The said Committee has further noted...

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The High Powered Committee has extended till December the interim bail of those undertrial prisoners (UTPs) who were released as per the criteria set out by the committee. Other UTPs, who were released on bail by the order of court, will have to surrender as per the timeline set by the Special Bench of the Delhi High Court in a suo moto matter.

The said Committee has further noted that the surrendering UTPs will have the liberty to move the concerned trial courts for seeking bail as per established legal principles.

On 20/10/20, the Special Bench of the Delhi High Court in Court On Its Own Motion v. GNCTD refused to prolong its blanket order on the extension of bails and parole granted to prisoners in light of the COVID19 pandemic. In that order, the court has directed the UTPs/convicts to surrender in a phased manner from 02.11.2020 to 13.11.2020.

The Director General (Prisons) informed the Committee that if the said order is followed in its letter and spirit, it will lead to unprecedented overcrowding in the prisons which will be extremely difficult to manage. The DG said:

'D.G. (Prisons) informed that at present the total population of inmates inside Delhi Prisons is approximately 15,900 (15887 to be precise as on today i.e. 24.10.2020). He informed the Committee that owing to the abovementioned order dated 20.10.2020 passed by Full Bench of Hon'ble High Court about 2300 UTPs/convicts shall surrender in a phased manner from 02.11.2020 to 13.11.2020, raising the population of inmates significantly. He further brought to the notice of the Committee that if 3337 UTPs and 1182 convicts who have been granted 'interim bail/emergency parole' under different criteria laid down by this Committee, are asked to surrender during the same duration as their 'interim bail/emergency parole' is expiring in a phased manner from 05.11.2020 onwards, then the total population of Delhi Prison is likely to reach 22000, which would be unprecedented and may become unmanageable owing to the present situation and circumstances.'

The Director General further recommended that the extension of 4 weeks shall also be granted to those convicts who were released on emergency parole by the order of the jail authorities.

While acknowledging the submissions of the Director General, the Committee observed that:

'Members of the Committee have considered that as on date against this capacity, there already are 15887 inmates. Even if the additional accommodation of 1800 inmates in the newly created 'temporary jail' is taken into consideration, it would be highly inconvenient for the jail authorities to accommodate UTPs/convicts released on 'interim bail/emergency parole' under the criteria laid down by this Committee, alongside those who would be surrendering in terms of orders dated 20.10.2020 passed by Full Bench of Hon'ble Delhi High Court.'

Therefore, the Committee has decided to give one last extension of 4 weeks to those convicts who were released on emergency parole by the order of the jail authorities. However, the said relief will not be extended to those prisoners who were released on parole by the order of the court.

The Committee further clarified that:

'Needless to add that no further extension of interim bail shall be made by this Committee. All such UTPs are at liberty to move their respective Courts seeking regular bail through their private counsel or by panel lawyer of DSLSA, as the case may be, and all such Courts shall consider the bail application so filed on merits, de hors the criteria laid down by this Committee.'

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