COVID-19: SC directs for release of prisoners to decongest jails

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SRINAGAR — Supreme Court on Saturday, while taking note of an “unprecedented surge” in the fresh strain of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country, directed decongestion of jails and release of all those prisoners granted bail or parole in view of the pandemic last year.

A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Nageswara Rao and Surya Kant in an order directed that all prisoners allowed to walk free on bail in March last year by the high-powered committees of States and Union Territories (UTs), set up following the apex court’s order, be granted the same relief without reconsideration by HPCs to avoid delay.

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The order displayed on the top court’s website also said, “Further we direct that those inmates who were granted parole, pursuant to our earlier orders, should be again granted parole for a period of 90 days in order to tide over the pandemic.”

Referring to a judgement, the top court asked authorities not to arrest mechanically in cases where the maximum sentence is up to seven years of jail term.

It also directed the high-powered committees to consider the release of fresh prisoners by adopting the guidelines of the National Legal Services Authority on the issue.

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