While hearing a petition challenging HPC classification of prisoners to be released on interim bail or parole amid COVID-19 outbreak, Bombay High Court has reiterated that grant of interim bail/ parole is a charity and grace by Supreme Court and cannot be claimed as a right.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Madhav Jamdar also stated, “It is unfortunate that our correctional homes have limited capacity. COVID-19 situation is not to be taken advantage of by some quarters.”
A PIL has been filed by National Alliance for People’s Movement which is an alliance of NGOs and run by social activist Medha Patkar challenging High Power Committee classification of prisoners to be released on interim bail/parole/furlough. The petitioner has considered the classification as a violation of the fundamental rights of the prison inmates.
Senior advocate Satish Talekar representing NGO informed, “HPC had made a classification of prisoners eligible for interim bail/parole/furlough beyond the scope of the directions issued by the Supreme Court for decongestion of jails to curb the spread of the COVID 19 pandemic within jails.”
NGO also submitted that the apex court issued the directive of decongesting the jails to curb the spread of COVID-19 which is ultimately saving the lives of prisoners and the authorities. Therefore, it cannot be termed as a charity or grace. He had sought the court directions to set aside the High Power Committee’s decision while calling it discriminatory arbitrary and going beyond the ambit of SC order.
The bench has reserved the order and decided to keep the order as a precedent.