Haryana High Powered Committee on 26.9.2020, through a video conferencing meeting, has decided to extend the special parole or interim bail of convicts by 6 weeks given the pandemic situation.
The meeting, held under the Chairmanship of Mr. Justice Rajiv Sharma, Judge, Punjab, and Haryana High Court and Executive Chairman of Haryana State Legal Services Authority and attended by Shri Vijai Vardhan, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Haryana, Home Department, Shri K. Selvaraj, IPS, Director General of Prisons, Haryana and Shri Pramod Goyal, District & Sessions Judge-cum-Member Secretary, Haryana State Legal Services Authority, on its recommendation affirmed, “readmitting around 4,000 prisoners on parole or interim bail back into the jail at this stage is a huge risk and in this view, it would be appropriate to extend the parole period of convicts by another six weeks from the date of their first surrender”, Committee said.
The High Powered Committee formed under the directions of the Supreme Court of India on March 23, 2020, earlier had released 3,283 convicts convicted of offence of up to seven years of the sentence and 1,599 undertrials on parole or interim bail to avoid the overcrowding in jails during the outbreak of COVID-19. Foreign prisoners, though, are not included in this. Besides, prisoners convicted for offenses such as drug smuggling, rape, an acid attack was also not released.
Prisoners returning from the interim bail or parole, the COVID-19 test, and 14 days quarantine are made mandatory to avoid further risk to the jail inmates. Tests for the prison staff was also made mandatory after availing leave. They will only get to join the duty after the receipt of the COVID-19 negative test report and fitness report from the medical officer of the jail, as recommended by the Committee.
In the meeting, the Committee also decided to reinstate 2,399 prisoners who are convicted for serious offenses, to their respective jails keeping in view all precautionary measures and safeguards to protect them and others from COVID-19 infection. The Committee for this directed the jail authorities to ask such convicts to surrender from 17.11.3030, after the completion of six weeks extension on 16.11.2020. Convicts will be notified their date of surrender and such will be decided based on the term of imprisonment. The convicts with longer the term will surrender first.