High Powered Committee, Delhi High Court after number of discussions, finally submitted its report. On 04th May 2021, the High Powered Committee of Delhi High Court had a meeting under the Chairpersonship of Hon’ble Justice Vipin Sanghi, Judge, High Court of Delhi & Executive Chairperson and Delhi State Legal Services Authority. In accordance with the spread of the Corona Virus (COVID-19), this committee was formed by following the Hon'ble Supreme Court's direction to determine the class/category of inmates who all can be released on interim bail or parole. The criteria for the release of prisoners depend upon the severity and nature of the offence and also upon other appropriate factors. The Committee is supposed to provide the period for such release or parole.
In the report, it is stated that following the recommendations of the committee, the total sum of 5124 inmates including the Undertrial Prisoners and Convicts were released to fulfil the social distancing norm inside the jail premise. As of now, the report states that UTPs released on interim bail till 09 February are 3499, UTPs released under modification of bail orders in Writ Petitions are 310, the number of convicts released on emergency parole is 1184 and the convicts who have released remission of sentence till 10th February 2021 are 131. The committee considered the seriousness of the second wave of COVID and stated that "Right to Life under Article 21 is the most precious Fundamental Right of every citizen of India. It unconditionally embraces even an undertrial/convict walled off from the society."
DG of the prison told the committee that there is an effect of the second wave inside the prison too, as he stated that there are 249 active cases, 65 recovered and 5 expired out of a total of 319 prisoner's covid cases. For prison staff, the count is 135 out of which 8 are recovered and 127 are still active.
In the report, the committee has classified the prisoner's category for grant of interim bail for 90 days. The eligibility criteria are mentioned below:
Inmates who are booked under NDPS Act, section 4 of POSCO Act, rape charges, acid attacks, Prevention of Corruption Act, UAPA and Riots are not eligible for bail and should not be even considered. The committee's report also proposed that Police Commissioner should issue essential guidelines in accordance with Arnesh Kumar's Judgment and DSLSA to conduct online sensitization programs of senior officers.
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