The Madras High Court on Tuesday took cognisance of the spread of COVID among the inmates of jails in the state, observing, "If that is the case, then it is of grave concern".
The Division Bench was hearing the Habeas Corpus Petition filed by the wife of a convict for grant of four weeks' leave for treatment of his ailing mother, when it was informed that the petitioner's husband has been infected with Covid- 19.
The Court was told that not only the petitioner's husband, but many persons in Central Prison, Puzhal have been infected with Covid-19, and that the petitioner's husband has now been transferred to the prison in Cuddalore.
"If that is the case, then it is of grave concern", remarked the bench, requiring the Additional Public Prosecutor to get instructions regarding the following queries:
(i) How many prisoners have been infected with Covid-19 in Central Prison, Puzhal?
(ii) How many prisoners have been infected with Covid-19 in various prisons in various Districts?
(iii) Whether those prisoners are being given proper treatment?
(iv) How many prisoners infected with Covid-19 have so far recovered?
(v) Whether prisoners infected with Covid-19 need to be released for taking treatment outside the prison?
Last month, the Rajasthan High Court had ordered that an accused person must be remanded to custody only after getting tested negative for COVID-19. The direction was passed in a suo moto case registered on the basis of news reports of May 16 that approximately 55 prisoners, both convicts as well as under-trials at Jaipur District Jail were detected corona positive. The Court also noted that as per the latest news reports, the numbers of positive corona cases which were reported in Jaipur District Jail itself had gone upto 128 inmates(out of 423 inmates) within past 48 hours.
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