Dimapur, April 9: 109 Under Trial Prisoners (UTPs) in the state of Nagaland were released on interim period on parole in pursuance to the direction of the Supreme Court in the wake of outbreak of pandemic Corona Virus and in order to decongest the prisons.
Earlier, in compliance to the direction, the State Government constituted a High Power Committee (HPC) on March 30 headed by Justice S. Serto, & Executive Chairman, Nagaland State Legal Services Authority, with Abhijit Sinha IAS, Principal Secretary (Home), Nagaland and Renchamo P. Kikon IPS, ADG (Prison), Nagaland as members.
The HPC, under the direction of its executive chairman, collected the lists of UTPs and convicts from all the Jails of Nagaland.
In the State, there are 11 jails including one Central Jail located at Dimapur and the State as a whole has the capacity to accommodate 1450 prisoners. However, at present inclusive of both UTPs and the convicts there are 537 out of which 12 are female. In the light of the High Power Committee (HPC) direction, a total of 109 UTPs were released from the 11 Districts Jails and Central Jail Dimapur in the State of Nagaland.
The High Power Committee sat on April 1 in the office of the Justice, High Court, Kohima Bench. After discussions and in order to decongest the prisons, the HPC decided that “Interim Bail is to be granted to UTPs who are facing trial in a case which prescribes a maximum sentence of 7 years or less if the UTP has more than one case and in all the cases, he is “on bail” except the one for which he is being considered and the same prescribes punishment for 7 years or less.”
It was provided that in both the above cases, the UTP is in custody for a period of one month or more, and in case of women UTP, 15 days or more.
However, inmates undergoing trial for recovery of narcotic drugs under NPDS Act; those facing trial under Section 4 & amp; 6 of POCSO Act; those facing trial for offences under Section 376, 376(A), 376B, 376C, 376D and 376E and acid attack; UTPs who are foreign nationals; and UTPs facing trial under Prevention of Corruption Act(PC Act)/PMLA; and Cases investigated by CBI/ED/NIA/Special Cell Police and Terror related cases, cases under Anti-National Activities and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act etc. c) NSA detenees were excluded for getting interim bail.
The High Power Committee also directed that if any inmate who is released under the recommendation of this High Power Committee, threatens, induces any witness or any person acquainted with the facts of the case or to the victim of the case, he shall be taken into custody immediately.
The HPC has further directed all the Jail authorities for ensuring social distancing of all the prisoners/UTPs inside the jail and transfer of prisoners from one prison to another for routine reasons must not be resorted to except for decongestion purposes and further directs for creation of quarantine rooms/facilities where any prisoner exhibiting any symptom of COVID-19 should be immediately shifted to, and thereafter prompt arrangements should be made for quickly shifting such sick prisoner to a nodal medical institution for further treatment.
Accordingly, DLSAs have been made aware that Under-trial Review Committee should meet every week and take such decision in consultation with the concerned authority in view of the direction of apex Court. (Page News Service)