By Sushil Batra
New Delhi [India], April 28 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking direction for the immediate release of all the under-trial and convicted prisoners on interim bail/parole in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The notice was issued for the release of prisoners with maximum imprisonment upto 7 years and fine (i.e. non - heinous crime) to Tihar Jail, Mandoli Jail and Rohini Jail of Delhi.
The petition also sought direction for the interim release of prisoners having critical medical conditions.
The Bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh sought a response from the Centre, Delhi Government and Jail Authorities and slated the matter for May 4 for further hearing.
The petitioners, practicing lawyers of Delhi, through the plea stated that already 190 inmates and 304 prison staff have been infected with the coronavirus and two infections have proved fatal. If immediate steps are not taken, in no time all the prisoners and prison staff will be infected with the coronavirus.
It is the need of the hour to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus inside the prisons.
The Petitioner Adv Shobha Gupta represented by Advocate Ajay Verma in the matter.
Plea seeks emergency parole for those 890 prisoners recently who surrendered and High Power Committee may be requested to consider the Interim release of prisoners considering many positive cases in prison.
The petition also sought direction to the police to not arrest the accused persons not involved in violent crimes without the order of the court.
It further prayed for the release of prisoners who are suffering from some of the ailment in Tihar Jail, Mandoli Jail and Rohini Jail. It also seeks direction to segregate and provide proper facilities and arrangements for examination and treatment of prisoners.
The petition also added that unless some drastic measures are taken now, the novel coronavirus will spread rapidly in our jails and prisons, endangering not only prisoners and correction workers but the general public as well.
"As the country prepares for the second wave of the spread of the pandemic, authorities should keep in mind the harsh experiences given in 2020 by the novel coronavirus to our country and take immediate steps to limit the risk posed by mass confinement, including releasing those detained on bail, along with elderly prisoners who pose little danger to the public," the plea read. (ANI)