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North East

Gauhati HC registers suo motu PIL over COVID-19 cases in Assam jails

Guwahati, July 23: The Gauhati High Court on Thursday ordered the Assam government to provide the best treatment to prisoners who have tested positive for COVID-19 after filing a suo motu PIL on rising number cases inside the jails.
Registering the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) after receiving a letter from senior advocate Nilay Dutta, the bench comprising of Chief Justice Ajay Lamba and Justice Manish Choudhury also ordered the Inspector General of Prisons to file an affidavit on the issue and listed the case on September 8 for next hearing.
“We hereby direct the Inspector General of Prisons, Assam to file his personal affidavit clearly indicating — how many covid positive cases have been detected in each of the jails,” the order said.
The affidavit will also have to include points like the precautions taken before the inmates were found to be COVID-positive, the steps being taken for disinfecting the jails and giving treatment to inmates and how many patients are asymptomatic and symptomatic in each of the jails.
“In the meantime, we hereby direct that the best of the measures available with the State of Assam, be employed to give qualitative treatment to the jail inmates across the state so that no further damage is caused.
“We also direct that the persons who have not been detected Covid-19 positive be segregated and be maintained as such so that the disease is not transmitted to them,” the court said in its order.
It also directed to test all the jail inmates across the state for the infection of coronavirus and inform the results to the court accordingly.
“We make it clear that in case affidavit on each of the points is not filed on or before the next date of listing, the Court is likely to impose exemplary cost to be deducted from the salary of the office who is found responsible in causing delay in process of the Court,” it said.
Total 535 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 across 10 jails in the state, of whom the highest — 435 — was detected in Guwahati central jail, Inspector General of Prisons Dasarath Das told PTI.
Among those who tested positive in Guwahati central jail are peasant leader Akhil Gogoi, student activist Sharjeel Imam, and NDFB chief Ranjan Daimary who is convicted in 2008 Assam serial bomb blast case. (PTI)

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