KOHIMA, JUNE 20: Nagaland Government has released around 11 prisoners from prisons as directed by the Supreme Court of India during the pandemic period.
According to a source, during the surge of Coronavirus and lockdown this year, State authorities have released around 11 prisoners. This measure was taken as per directives of the apex Court aimed at avoidance of overcrowding and decongestion of jails across the country.
The Supreme Court last month again ordered immediate release of prisoners who were granted bail or parole last year. Observing that the decongestion of prisons, housing around 4 lakh inmates across the country, is a matter concerning “health and right to life” of prisoners and police personnel, a Bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana said all those who were allowed to go out on bail in March last year by the high-powered committees of States and Union Territories (UTs) be granted the same relief without any reconsideration to avoid delay.
Further the Court directed that, those inmates who were granted parole, pursuant to earlier orders, should be again be granted parole for a period of 90 days in order to tide over the pandemic.
The top Court took note of its March 23, 2020, order by which it had directed all States and Union Territories to constitute high-powered committees (HPC) to consider releasing on parole or interim bail prisoners and under-trials for offences entailing up to 7-year jail term to decongest prisons in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. It had also directed States that the HPCs consist of Chair-person of the State Legal Services Committee, Principal Secretary (Home/Prison) by whatever designation is known as, and Director General of Prison(s) to determine which class of prisoners can be released on parole or an interim bail for such period as may be thought appropriate.
Significantly, this time, the apex Court took into consideration a situation where certain prisoners may be scared to return home, though eligible for release on interim bail or parole, owing to their social circumstances or simply because they are afraid they may get infected with COVID-19 while outside. In such cases, the Court ordered proper medical facilities, immediate treatment and regular tests for both inmates and jail staff. It said maintenance of daily hygiene in prisons should be put at a premium.
Last year it was left open to the committees to determine the category of prisoners who should be released depending upon the nature of offence, the prison sentence, the severity of offence and the stage of trial or any other relevant factor.
A senior State police official said prisoners are being released by respective Under-trial Review Committee after thoroughly reviewing the cases. “District UTRC reviews cases and takes decision to release inmates in compliance with the Supreme Court’s Order”, the official said.
But a source said there are no overcrowding and congested prisons in the State, other than more numbers of inmates in Kohima District Jail, Dimapur Central Jail and Sub-Jail.
(Page News Service)