The covid-19 has increased the tensions worldwide and social distancing is considered important even in jails considering the rights of prisoners, therefore the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the case of “Re : Contagion Of Covid 19 Virus … vs N. Raghupathy“, directed the States/Union Territories to constitute High Powered Committees which could decide which prisoners may be released on interim bail or parole during the pandemic (COVID 19). The purpose was to prevent the overcrowding of prisons so that in case of an outbreak of coronavirus in the prisons, the spread of the disease is manageable.
The operative part reads as:
“We direct that each State/Union Territory shall constitute a High Powered Committee comprising of (i) Chairman of the State Legal Services Committee, (ii) the Principal Secretary(Home/Prison) by whatever designation is known as, (ii) Director General of Prison(s), to determine which class of prisoners can be released on parole or an interim bail for such period as may bethought appropriate. For instance, the State/Union Territory could consider the release of prisoners who have been convicted or are undertrial for offences for which prescribed punishment is up to 7 years or less, with or without fine and the prisoner has been convicted for a lesser number of years than the maximum.”
Thereby pursuant to this order, a High Power Committee (HPC) was constituted by High Court of Delhi to decongest the Jails to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Novel Corona Virus) and as per the recommendations of this Committee dated 28.03.2020, 07.04.2020, 18.04.2020, 05.05.2020 and 18.05.2020 and on the basis of orders in WP (C) No.2945/2020 titled as “Shobha Gupta &Ors. vs. Union of India & Ors.”, 2177 Under Trial Prisoners (UTPs) were released on interim bail for a period of 45 days from the date of their respective release.
Now, The High Power Committee (HPC), constituted by High Court of Delhi, in its meeting dated 20.06.2020 further noted that the said period of 45 days in respect of some UTPs is going to expire on 23.06.2020 and for others it shall expire in coming days of June, 2020 and in the subsequent weeks of July, 2020 but situation of the pandemic is still the same and it may not be possible to predict definite date for resumption of normal functioning of Court system, so HPC was of the opinion that the interim bail so granted to 2651 UTPs till 20.06.2020 by respective CMMs/MMs needs to be extended for a further period of 45 days.
Accordingly, the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi has ordered as per order dated 22.06.2020 that the interim bails for a period of 45 days granted to 2651 UTPs, in view of the recommendations of HPC dated 28.03.2020, 07.04.2020, 18.04.2020, 05.05.2020, 18.05.2020 and 20.06.2020 and on the basis of orders in WP (C) No.2945/2020 titled as “Shobha Gupta &Ors. vs. Union of India &Ors.” are hereby extended by another period of 45 days from the date of their respective expiry of interim bails on the same terms and conditions.
Read the order here:-