SC Directs Delhi Prisoners Released On Interim Bail During COVID-19 To Surrender Before Prison Authorities Within 15 Days
The Supreme Court has recently directed the prisoners of Delhi jails who were released on emergency parole or interim bail during the period of COVID-19 to surrender before the concerned prison authorities within fifteen days.
The two-Judge Bench comprising Justice M.R. Shah and Justice C.T. Ravikumar directed, “… we allow the present application with an observation and direction that all those under trials/convicts who have been released on Emergency Parole/Interim Bail pursuant to the recommendation of the High-Powered Committee, in compliance of the Orders dated 23.03.2020, 07.05.2021 and 16.07.2021 passed by this Court in Suo Moto Writ Petition No.01/2020 have to surrender before the concerned prison authorities within 15 days.”
The Bench said that the COVID-19 situation has now been normalized and hence, all those prisoners/inmates/undertrial prisoners/convicts who are/were released on emergency parole/interim bail must surrender before the concerned prison authorities.
ASG Aishwarya Bhati appeared on behalf of the applicant in this matter.
In this case, an application was preferred by the Director General (Prisons), New Delhi seeking appropriate directions from the Apex Court for the surrender of prisoners/inmates who had been released on Emergency Parole or interim bail pursuant to the recommendations of the High-Powered Committee, in compliance with the Orders passed by the Apex Court in Suo Moto Writ Petition No.01/2020, as the COVID-19 situation has been normalized.
The Supreme Court in view of the above context noted, “It is not in dispute and cannot be disputed that all those undertrial prisoners/convicts were released on interim bail/emergency parole taking into consideration the overcrowding in the prisons and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus among prisoners in over-crowded prisons. All those undertrial prisoners/convicts therefore were not released on merits but were released on the aforesaid ground alone.”
The Court directed that its order be intimated to the concerned accused/inmates by the concerned jail authorities that they have now to surrender within the period of 15 days.
“… so far as some other States are concerned, all those prisoners/inmates who were released on interim bail/emergency parole pursuant to the recommendation of the High-Powered Committee constituted in compliance with the orders passed by this Court passed in Suo Moto Writ Petition No.01/2020 have been recalled”, said the Court.
The Court, therefore, allowed the application and issued the necessary directions to the accused/convicts/prisoners.
“However, it is observed that thereafter after the concerned prisoners/inmates surrender before the concerned prison authorities it will be open for the concerned undertrials to pray for bail before the competent court and their applications be considered in accordance with law and on its own merits. Similarly, after the surrender by the concerned convicts who are released on Emergency Parole it will be open for them if so advised to pray for suspension of sentence before the concerned Court in their appeals which might have been pending which also may be considered in accordance with law and/or on merits”, observed the Court.
Accordingly, the Court disposed of the application.
In Re: Contagion of Covid-19 Virus in Prisons and Director General (Prisons)