The various facilities available in prisons for treating Covid-19 patients, Karnataka High Court on Thursday questioned the State. Chief Justice Abhay S Oka who headed the Division Bench asked the State to show records on the number of COVID-19 cases that were detected in every prison along with information of proper isolation cell facilities were available in prisons.
He also wanted to know if regular check-ups were being conducted in all prisons concerning prison mates who were having exiting symptoms of Covid-19.
He also wanted to know if there is any policy to test the undertrial or convicted prisoners who were bought to prisons to ensure that they were tested negative for COVID-19. The prisoners who enter the prison should be quarantined for a particular period and this should be ensured by the State Government.
Amol Kale is a Petitioner in Mysore Jail stated that he has various symptoms of COVID-19. According to him, the jail authorities were not providing COVID test facilities to prisoners with symptoms. He claimed because of this negligence there was a rise in the number of COVID-19 positive patients were increasing rapidly.
On 23rd March, the Supreme Court had given various had given several directions for the decongestion of prisons and to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in jails.
The petition states,
"That, in the wake of COVID-19, there is a great need for decongesting of overcrowded prisons, correction centers, observation homes, and places of safety. While the Apex Court has issued directions to release the prisoners on certain terms and conditions, it is equally imperative to proper safety for those prisoners who are inside the prisons."
NP Amruthesh who is the advocate of the petitioner had also written multiple times to the jail authorities to ensure proper medical facilities and check-ups for jail inmates with COVID-19 symptoms. The jail authorities have not provided separate isolation cells for prisoners with COVID-19 symptoms, who are quarantined inside the regular cell itself.
This has not only created a feeling of insecurity and fear among the other non-affected jail prisoners but has also accelerated the risk of their contracting the dangerous virus, avers the plea. The matter has adjourned to 31st September.