Delhi High Court has noted that it’s the right time to end the extension of paroles and bails which were earlier granted to prisoners during the Coronavirus outbreak to decongest the jails as only three prisoners were tested positive.
As per Tihar prison Director General Sandeep Goel, almost, 6,700 prisoners were out on parole and bails. They continue to remain outside as per the extension of blanket orders passed by High Court from time-to-time.
The Director General also informed the court that in the three jails of the national capital – Tihar, Rohini and Mandoli, there is a capacity of over 10,000 prisoners. However, about 15,900 prisoners are lodged there.
“Let us bring to an end the COVID chapter. Let these people surrender or go back to jail. We passed the order in view of the pandemic. Our order has nothing to do with the overcrowding of the jails. We are not concerned by the nature of the crimes,” said the full bench of Delhi High Court headed by Chief Justice D N Patel.
The bench also said, “The COVID chapter is over. The other reasons for grant or extension of bail and parole can continue. We will go back to the situation that prevailed in January-February this year.”
On Tuesday, the three-member HC bench, comprising Chief Justice (CJ) DN Patel, Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh cited that this blanket order must come to an end now as this was introduced in view of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Advocate Rahul Mehra, the standing counsel for Delhi government and criminal cases told the court that the total capacity of the jail is 10,000 and the prisoners lodged there are around 15,900. Recently, as per the SC orders 5,581 prisoners were released from the jail.
Delhi government told the High Court that 216 employees of the jail were tested positive who had recovered. “At present, only three inmates are undergoing treatment at hospitals after they had tested Covid-19 positive. The contagion was contained in jails because adequate measures were undertaken by the authorities concerned,” told DG Goel.
“While passing the order, it was not taken into consideration the capacity of the jails. We had only passed the order due to the outbreak of Covid-19,” said Chief Justice Patel.