‘Reply to prisoners’ plea seeking parole’

Centre, State govt., police, prisons told to respond by May 4

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Centre, State government, police and prison authority to respond to a plea seeking temporary release on bail or parole of prisoners involved in non-heinous crimes from the three jails in the Capital in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases.

A Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh asked the Ministries of Law and Health, Delhi government, police, office of L-G and Director General of Prisons to give their stand on the plea by May 4.

Advocate Ajay Verma, appearing for the petitioners, argued that recently, in Tihar Jail, 190 inmates and 304 prison staffers tested positive. The plea stated that of these, 67 inmates and seven prison officials are still undergoing treatment and two inmates have died due to the virus. The plea stated the jails in Delhi are overcrowded with a shocking data of capacity of inmates being 172.4%. The current total number of inmates was 17, 285 against a total capacity of 10,026. The numbers of persons above the age of 50 in the jail are 947 and those in the age group of 30-50 is 5,639.

Advocate Verma argued for the release of the prisoners above the age of 30, who are not medically fit and those undergoing imprisonment for minor offences, to prevent the spread and fatality caused by COVID-19.

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