The Supreme Court on Monday gave the directions to the States and Union Territories to decongest the jails and prevent the spread of Covid-19 among the inmates in jail. The Apex Court directed the release of undertrial prisoners on parole and bail or the prisoners who have not been convicted/ accused of heinous crimes.
A bench comprising of Chief Justice Bobde, Justice Nageshwara Rao and Justice Surya Kant observed that the concern of overcrowding is an important matter and must be taken into consideration immediately before it gets late. Ensuring the compliance of provisions of Constitution i.e Article 21 in the current scenario to prevent further spread of the disease. To promote the concept of Social distancing and to avoid the fatal consequences.
The court further directed the setting up of committees which are to comprise of the Chairperson of the State Legal Services Authority and the prison administration including the director-general and the principal secretary to determine the class of prisoners who can be released on bail, parole for a period considered to be appropriate by the authorities. –
As it was held in the case of famed Charles Sobraj through Marie Andre’s vs. The Superintendent, Central Jail, Tihar, New Delhi (1978), Supreme Court Justice Krishna Aiyer held, “..imprisonment does not spell farewell to fundamental rights although, by a realistic re-appraisal, Courts will refuse to recognise the full panoply of Part III enjoyed by a free citizen”. He further held that imprisonment of a prisoner is not merely retribution or deterrence but also rehabilitation. Thus the prisoners are to be classified as per the orders of the court and depending upon the atrocity of the crime.