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"...all those under trials/convicts who have been released on Emergency Parole/Interim Bail pursuant to the recommendation of the High-Powered Committee, in compliance of the Orders dated 23.03.2020, 07.05.2021 and 16.07.2021 passed by this Court in Suo Moto Writ Petition No.01/2020 have to surrender before the concerned prison authorities within 15 days", the Top Court has ordered.
The Supreme Court on Friday directed all inmates who were released on emergency parole by the High Powered Committee during the COVID-19 period, have now to surrender within the period of 15 days.
A bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar has further clarified that after the concerned prisoners/inmates surrender before the concerned prison authorities it will be open for the concerned undertrials to pray for bail before the competent court and their applications be considered in accordance with law and on its own merits.
"Similarly, after the surrender by the concerned convicts who are released on Emergency Parole it will be open for them if so advised to pray for suspension of sentence before the concerned Court in their appeals which might have been pending which also may be considered in accordance with law and/or on merits...", the bench has added.
These directions came to be issued in an application preferred by the Director General (Prisons), New Delhi seeking appropriate directions from this Court for surrender of prisoners/inmates who had been released on Emergency Parole or interim bail.
ASG Aishwarya Bhati had informed the Court that out of total 751 convicts who were released on emergency parole, 71 convicts had surrendered voluntarily till date; similarly out of 3630 undertrial prisoners who were released on interim bail on the basis of criteria laid down by High-Powered Committee, 267 undertrials have surrendered in Jail with the order of Court.
The bench while noting that It all the undertrial prisoners/convicts were released on interim bail/emergency parole taking into consideration the over-crowding in the prisons and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus among prisoners in over-crowded prisons and not on merits. the bench opined thus,
"Therefore, now when the COVID-19 situation has now been normalized, all those prisoners/inmates/undertrial prisoners/convicts who are/were released on emergency parole/interim bail have to surrender before the concerned prison authorities......At this stage it is required to be noted that so far as some other States are concerned, all those prisoners/inmates who were released on interim bail/emergency parole pursuant to the recommendation of the High-Powered Committee constituted in compliance with the orders passed by this Court passed in Suo Moto Writ Petition No.01/2020 have been recalled."
Case Title: In Re: Contagion of Covid-19 Virus in Prisons And Director General (Prisons)
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