Delhi High Powered Committee on November 28, 2020, discussed on Effective implementation of the directions issued by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Suo Motu Petition (Civil) No.1/2020 – In Re: Contagion of COVID-19 wherein, the Committee decided to extend the interim bail granted to prisoners to contain the spread of COVID19 pandemic inside the prisons for 45 more days.
On the basis of directions of Hon'ble Supreme Court, the Members of the Committee have observed, that this Committee was formed for the stated object, i.e. only for the purposes of finding a solution to help decongestion and to avoid the spread of virus inside the prisons; and while doing so, it was to be kept in mind that the benefit of interim bail granted in such circumstances, cannot be to the detriment of social order. The main discussion at the meeting was revolved around the following issues:-
- Follow up of resolution adopted earlier with respect to prevention, screening, Identification & treatment of prisoners and Jail-staff
- Steps taken towards screening of jail staff, Para-military, and Medical-staff
- Taking stock of the effect of criterion earlier adopted towards decongestion of jail.
- Feedback regarding extension of interim bail granted to UTPs in terms of the resolution adopted in the meeting dated30.08.2020
- Feedback regarding extension of “emergency parole” granted to the convicts By Govt. Of N.C.T. of Delhi
In response to the Chair's curiosity for the safety and security of the inmates housed in the “Temporary Jail”, D.G. (Prisons) assured that all necessary precautions as per the Standard Operating Procedures (S.O.P.) and other protocols to be followed at the Jails. In an eventuality of UTPs/Convicts surrendering in Delhi jails, pursuant to any order passed by the Court of Law, the Chair suggested that all such UTPs/Convicts may be housed initially for a period of 14 days in the Temporary Jail before sending them in the concerned Jail. The Chairperson enquired about remission to the convicts, in response, it was informed by D.G. (Prisons) that ‘remission to the eligible convicts’ was granted by Hon’ble Lieutenant Governor of Delhi in terms of recommendations of High-Powered Committee.
Due to the sudden spurt of COVID – 19 cases in Delhi reflects that there is no certainty when the threat of pandemic shall be over. Taking this into account, Members of the Committee observed and noted that The interim bail granted to 3499 UTPs and 1183 convicts who are on 'interim bail/emergency parole' under the criteria laid down by HPC if at this stage are not extended, and the UTPs/Convicts are asked to surrender at this time then it would be a dangerous proposition, as they might bring with them the infection. The Committee is, therefore, of the considered opinion that no such chance/risk can be taken and thus resolved that interim bail granted to 3499 UTPs needs to be further extended for a period of 45 days.
The committee also noted after taking into account the present prison population, emergency parole of 1183 convicts which is going to expire on or before 09.01.2021 may be extended for a further period of 6 weeks. The Chairperson Ms. Hon’ble Justice Hima Kohli appreciated the efforts put in towards the implementation of the resolution adopted in earlier meetings, by Govt. of NCT of Delhi, the Jail Administration, and Delhi State Legal Services Authority. [READ MINUTES]