Keeping in view the spread of COVID-19 infection across prisons in the country, the Supreme Court on Saturday, in its order, passed a slew of measures and directions to decongest them and prevent the spread of the disease.
The Court also directed the authorities concerned to ensure that proper medical facilities are provided to all prisoners. A three-judge special Bench of the Apex Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana and also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Surya Kant passed the directions.
The SC special bench had ordered the High-Powered Committees (HPC) constituted by the state governments and Union Territories (UTs) to consider release of prisoners by adopting the SOPs, laid down by National Legal Services Authority (NALS), last year at the earliest.
Such states which have not constituted High Powered Committees last year are directed to do so immediately. The Commissioner of Police, Delhi, shall also be a member of the High-Powered Committee, Delhi, the apex court said.
We direct that those inmates who were granted parole, pursuant to our earlier orders, should be again granted a parole for a period of 90 days in order to tide over the pandemic, the top court added.
Morever, all the decisions of HPCs need to be published on respective State Legal Service Authorities, State High Courts websites, and others in order to enable effective dissemination of information.
“The authorities are directed to ensure that proper medical facilities are provided to all the prisoners. The spread of COVID-19 virus should be controlled in the prisons by regular testing being done of the prisoners but also the jail staff also and immediate treatment should be made available to the inmates and the staff,” the apex court said in its order.Suitable precautions shall be taken to prevent the transmission of the deadly virus amongst the inmates of prisons.