Coronavirus | Will grant special parole, furlough to convicts to decongest prisons, Delhi govt to HC

A notification would be issued within a day to amend the prison rules to include the new provisions, the government submitted

The city government told the Delhi High Court on Monday that it has decided to decongest capital’s prisons by providing convicts with the options of special parole and furlough to contain the spread of coronavirus.

A Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, taking note of the submission, directed the Delhi government to take the necessary steps during the day to implement the measures.

The Delhi government submitted that it will amend its prison rules to provide the options of special parole and furlough. It said a notification would be issued within a day to amend the prison rules to include the new provisions.

The government’s submission came while responding to a plea moved by two lawyers seeking decongesting of the prisons in view of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A separate petition on the issue has also been moved before the High Court seeking direction to the city government and the Prison authorities to immediately provide face-masks and hand sanitizers to all the inmates in Tihar Jail and other prisons in Delhi.

The petition filed by advocate Vikas Padora has also sought direction to spray disinfectants or quarantine the premises of jails. Mr. Padora also sought to set up isolation wards in the jail premises where the infected inmate or inmate having symptoms can be lodged safely.

It has urged the court to give directions so that the spread of coronavirus can be contained as much as possible in the jails across India.

“As per the data available on the website Tihar Jail, there is capacity of 5,200 inmates, whereas at present there are more than 12,100 inmates lodged in Tihar Jail itself, which clearly shows that the prison Tihar Jail is excessively overcrowded and functioning beyond its capacity,” the petition said.

“The same is the situation with most of the Jails in India,” advocate Padora added, whose petition is likely to be heard this week.

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