The Apex Court on Monday while hearing the case of Suo moto writ petition titled as “Contagion of COVID-19 in prisons” issued directions for release of prisoners to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in prisons.
A bench comprising of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar was hearing the case wherein the Attorney General K.K. Venugopal was representing the government informed the bench that many steps have been taken for releasing the prisoners and detainees from jails across the country. Attorney general also told the court that most of the states had taken states in this concerning matter.
Advocate and senior congress leader Salman Khurshid who was appearing before the court on behalf of one of the petitioners pleaded before the court that the provision of the release of prisoners should also be extended to detainees as well. Replying on this Mr Venugopal said that this will fail the purpose of lockdown if detainees are released at this time.
The Supreme Court on Monday after hearing all concerned parties issued following directions:-
No prisoner shall be released if he/she has suffered from coronavirus disease in communicable form hereafter. For this purpose, appropriate tests will be carried out.
If it is found that a prisoner who has been released is suffering from coronavirus after the release, necessary steps will be taken by the concerned authority by placing him/her inappropriate quarantine facility.
Transportation shall be done in full compliance with the Rules and Norms of social distancing. For instance, no transportation shall be allowed in excess of half or one-fourth capacity of the bus as may be found appropriate to ensure that the passengers who have been found to be free of coronavirus disease are at a distance from each other.
The order dated 23.03.2020 shall be applicable to correctional homes, detention centres and protection homes.