New Delhi/Bhopal, March 30
Thousands of prisoners in overcrowded jails across the country are being released on interim bail or parole in an unprecedented step to prevent the spread of Covid and also to avoid clashes.
In Delhi’s Tihar prison that is bursting at the seams, 1,500 inmates are likely to be released soon in the second batch, officials said on Monday.
Over 400 inmates from the planned number of 3,000 have already come out in the first phase. Covid cases in the country climbed to 1,071 while the death toll rose to 29.
A meeting of a committee headed by Delhi High Court judge Justice Hima Kohli through video-conferencing decided to expedite the process of granting eight-week parole to around 1,500 undertrial prisoners under a newly incorporated provision in the prison rules. Those facing serious charges wouldn’t be released.
A petition was also filed by advocate Amit Sahni in the Supreme Court on Monday seeking direction to the Centre and all the states to consider granting parole or interim bail to prisoners above 50 years of age as well as those suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory problem and other life threatening diseases in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
A demand was also made for the release of 84-year-old Asaram Bapu by his followers. He is lodged in Jodhpur jail for rape.
In Madhya Pradesh, process has begun to release nearly 8,000 prisoners, who are being tried for cases where the maximum sentence is less than five years, will be released on interim bail for 45 days, state Director General of Prisons Sanjay Choudhary said.
In UP, the government has decided to free 11,000 prisoners lodged in 71 jails.
The Maharashtra Prison Department has so far released around 600 prisoners from 37 prisons in the last three days, officials said in Mumbai.
In Himachal Pradesh, a high-power committee has decided to give temporary bail only to those undertrials who are first time offenders and facing trial for offences punishable up to seven years.
Gujarat has said it will release around 1,200 prisoners for two months on parole and interim bail.
The Kerala High Court has granted parole till April 30 to all prisoners in Kerala who are either undertrials or remand prisoners, provided they are sentenced to less than seven years imprisonment. Around 1,000 prisoners will be benefitted. — PTI/IANS
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