Supreme Court issued directions to State/UTs to file an affidavit stipulating number of prisoners who lost their lives due to COVID 19.
The bench also added that early release under Section 432 and Section 433A, CrPC shall continue by the State authorities for all entitled inmates.
A Division Bench of Justice Nageswara Rao and Justice Aniruddha Bose, in its order dated June 1, 2021, observed;
"non-consideration of the pre-mature release of prisoners by this Court in its order dated 07.05.2021 shall not deter the competent authorities to consider the pre-mature release of the prisoners in accordance with law."
"The State Governments/Union Territories are further directed to file an affidavit within a period of four weeks furnishing information about the number of prisoners released pursuant to the order dated 07.05.2021. The State Governments/Union Territories shall also provide information relating to the number of deaths in prisons due to Covid-19."
Submissions were made by Senior Advocate(s) Dushyant Dave and Colin Gonsalves.
“Two important things are there in the intervention applications. One is about terminally ill people…Second is that medical staff is vacant by 50% in prisons”, submitted Gonsalves.
Brief submissions were also made by the Interveners.
“Today we are not taking any IA except for Mr. Alam’s. All will be heard when listed”, Court said.
Directions inter alia issued by Order dated 07.05.2021;
- HPCs constituted by the State Governments/UTs shall consider release of prisoners by adopting guidelines such as SOP laid down by NALSA.
- HPCs, in addition to fresh release, should consider release of all inmates allowed so by previous order of 23.03.2020, by imposing appropriate conditions.
- Those granted parole by previous order, may be considered for the same relief again for a period of 90 days.
- Decision of HPCs be published on State Legal Services Authority/State Government/High Court website in order to enable effective dissemination of Information.
- Authorities to be considerate to the concerns of inmates and ensure proper medical facility.
- Precautions to be taken to prevent transmission of COVID 19 amongst the prison inmates.
- Appropriate steps shall be taken for transportation of the released inmates of the prison, if necessary, in view of curfews and lockdowns.
Case Title: In Re: Contagion of COVID 19 Virus in Prisons | SMW No 1 of 2020